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Title: Tobacco and socio-ecological change in Kuria district Kenya 1969-2002; a historical perspective
Authors: Babere Kerata, Chacha
Keywords: Tobacco and socio-ecological change
Issue Date: Apr-2011
Publisher: Egerton University
Abstract: Tobacco is a cash crop that has been produced in Kenya for almost a century now. Since its inception, its culture, use, health and economic implications have become issues of social and academic inquiry. Growing concerns have been expressed not only about the health hazards involved in tobacco production but also about the environmental unsustainability of the crop in terms of excessive use of wood. Today, the crop poses a particularly difficult dilemma for development since its production has generated a wide range of employment, income, foreign exchange earnings and other cash contributing effects, while the damage to the environment and food security in general seems to outweigh the benefits. These complexities challenge researchers and policy makers to address the dynamics of agricultural intensification and local scale land-use systems and their long terms implications. This study is an attempt to examine how forces involved within tobacco production transformed a once economically self-sufficient people with an agro-pastoral economy into dependent contract producers for the international market between 1969 and 2002. The study takes into account not only shitts in land use and valuation but also the ways that the Kuria have come to conceive of, and work with local ecological dynamics. Such transformation and its trajectory is informed by theoretical analysis relating to the injection of capital into agriculture—the articulation of modes of production with specific reference to the peasantry and tobacco agribusiness. Modernisation, dependency and ecology theories were used to compliment and provide useful insight to the study. Methodology used in this research was based on sampling of archival sources and oral narratives in form of field interviews and eyewitness accounts. Secondary sources included books, journals, newspapers, magazines, articles, unpublished theses, seminar papers, periodicals, agricultural annual reports, tobacco companies’ reports, National Cereals and Produce Board annual reports, environment and natural resources annual reports-these were also, analysed. Oral sources in form of perceptions tobacco growers were also used to establish ecological changes in the district, while land use history was sought using archival documents and interpretation of maps drawn before and after introduction of tobacco. In sum it was found that tobacco is a driving force to/for key/major? Socio-ecological changes in Kuria District.
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

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