History of the Ranch
Mgeno Ranch is one of the 37 ranches that dots the landscape of Taita Taveta County covering an area of 53,000 acres. It’s geographically located in Mwatate Sub-County, Taita Taveta County. The ranch boarder, Choke Ranch, Teita Sisal Estate and Mgeno grazers in the west in Mwatate Sub-County. Izera ranch and Teri B Ranches in the North East and Maungu Ranch in the South all in Voi Sub-County.
Mgeno Ranch is owned by Mgeno Ranching DA Company LTD, which was established in 1972 registered with registrar of companies. The ranch has a membership of about 1100 indigenous local shareholders.
Mgeno Ranch, has be known as a livestock production area which forms part of its core business. However, livestock has not been undertaken on a commercial skill due to low capitalization, governance & weak institutional frameworks. Despite these challenges, in 2018 the company re-engineered its agenda towards making wise use of it primary land assets and natural resources since the ranch is endowed with potential for wildlife conservation, tourism, mining & ecosystem services like carbon credit.
During the 2019 AGM, members resolved to fully embrace the concept of registering Mgeno as a wildlife Conservancy to allow sustainable use of Natural resources through multiple land use activities. In the year 2020, a biodiversity inventory revealed grater potential within the ranch as a wildlife conservation area followed by gazettement management plan as a roadmap to formation of the Mgeno Conservancy.
Livestock rearing is the core business undertaken in the lowlands in addition to subsistence farming for areas outside the ranch or the national park. However, livestock has not really been undertaken on a really commercial scale as expected due to low capitalisation. This may be attributed to low share contributions from shareholders, and lack of skills for resource mobilisation. Currently, most of the ranches have been leased to traders from Mombasa and North-eastern at low rates with a good number of them having squatters and illegal grazers. Illegal activities such as mining and charcoal burning to trade in wild meat are taking grip.
The area is served by an earth road linking Mwatate to Kasigau, that passes through Teita Sisal Estate.
Mgeno ranch lies within the Mwatate river drainage basin, with the river forming the boundary between it and other ranches on the southern end.
The ranch is covered by a wooded-grassland. It is dominated by Acacia-Commiphora kind of vegetation. Along the riverine areas are tree species such as Ficus sp., Albizia sp. among others.
Among the plant species of interest in the area is Osyris lanceolata that is currently facing heavy exploitation in other parts of the Taita district and the country in general despite the Presidential protection status. Among the animal species is Loxodonta african (The African elephant).