Agriculture in Kenya: Large- versus Small-Scale Farming

  • R. M. A. van Zwanenberg
  • Anne King


Before we embark on a chronological account of the changes and developments in Kenya’s agriculture it would be helpful to look at the structural changes brought about by the setting up of large-scale agricultural estates by European settlers. The history of development or lack of development in the rural areas of Kenya has been largely determined by the imposition of this type of farming on the country. Did the kind of agriculture brought by the settlers lead to development? The following sections will show that after forty difficult years it brought about prosperity within the European-settled areas, but that it was directly responsible for (a) holding back agricultural development in other areas, (b) the political explosion in the 1950s, (c) creating the ‘peasant capitalist’ from the late 1950s and finally (d) the gross underdevelopment in the areas of the nomadic pastoralists.


Cash Crop Land Tenure Economic History Central Province Colonial Government 


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Copyright information

© R. M. A. van Zwanenberg with Anne King 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. A. van Zwanenberg
  • Anne King

There are no affiliations available

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