T. J O'Shea.

Farming & planting in British East Africa. A description of the leading agricultural centres and an account of agricultural conditions and prospects online

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Online LibraryT. J O'SheaFarming & planting in British East Africa. A description of the leading agricultural centres and an account of agricultural conditions and prospects → online text (page 15 of 16)
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Merino have been from Haddon Rig, Wanganella
and the famous Boonoke flock in Australia. The
rams and ewes from the last mentioned flock have
done exceptionally well.

The stallion on the Farm "Royal Fox," an iroKSKS.
Irish hunter, has given every satisfaction, and many
of his progeny have been seen on the local race-
course. He is at the service of settlers for the low


fee of Rs. 20 {£i/6/S) per mare served, so as to
improve the class of animal in the country.

PIGS. A few Long Black, Tarn worth and Berkshire

pigs are kept on the Farm, but the principal source
of supply is the Kabete Farm.

r.oATS. Angora goats were imported from South Africa

some years ago, and later we imported some from
Australia, all of which have done well and given
very good results in crosses with the native goat.

DONKEYS. We imported two Catalonian jack donkeys — one

of a trothy and one of a draught kind — which have
been crossed v^dth the native donkey with every
success. Their progeny are in great demand among
the settlers, as they are a great advance on the
native donkey.

PROSPECTS In considering the prospective development of

OF THE the Highlands of East Africa as a stock country,

HIGHLANDS people would do well to bear in mind that progress

AS A STOCK must be gradual. It is unreasonable to make com-

couNTRY. parisons with Europe or Australia, and to expect

that every beast bred should be equal to those for

which these countries are famous. Even with the

greatest care in selection, severe culling is necessary

to maintain the quality of herds in other stock

centres, and we can only expect to attain the same

high level of quality in the course of time by

pursuing the same methods.

HOUSING I have always held — and have proved so far as

AND FEEDING this Farm is concerned, that the housing of animals
OF STOCK. and heavy feeding is a mistake, except in the case

of stud bulls. I find that all the purebred cattle
that are left in the open and brought as little as
possible to sheds do best. When I say left in the
open I mean left to graze all day and to sleep at
night in fenced in bomas of about five acres in
extent, calves and all alike, without cover. I have
found that housed and stall-fed bulls in show
and sight seeing condition do not perform I heir
work as well as the animal that is out all day and
receives a little feed night and morning. No pure-
bred cow is ever fed here by me except very old, or
out of order with a young calf or through heavy
milking. They all have to do for them.selves, and


I find that the more the\' are kept in the open and
away from sheds the less hable cows and calves are
to disease. None of our purebred bulls get any feed
other than their mother's milk and grazing \mtil they
are about twelve months old, and then only for a
month or two before our annual sale, when they are
fed on mealie meal, grass hay and a little lucerne
and are allowed to graze out all day. Very often
they have only had mealie meal and grass haj' —
lucerne not being available. This can hardly be
termed pampering. It is such feed as any settler
could afford to give a purebred bull — mealie meal and
grass hay night and morning — and that most likely
to give the best results.

Sheep and other animals on the Farm are TRE.vrMENT
similarly treated. Young purebred Merino rams get Qp sheep
a little crushed maize night and morning for a couple p-rc.
of months before the annual sale, and the Merino
ewes get crushed maize while the tupping season is
on — which lasts for six weeks at a time.

There can be no question of the part the Farm i\fi,ue.\ce
has played in brin.ging the stock industry of the ,,p -^-he
Protectorate to its present stage, even after due i.-\rji.
allowance has been made for the enterprise of those
settlers who have also iniported stock. I hope that
in the fut\ire the Farm will do even more go k1 by
increa.sed importations of high (juality stock, and \)y
doing S(j enable the settler to obtain acclimatized
animals cheaper than they could import. Although
no animal is put up at the annual sale without
reserve, bidding is generally very brisk and the
prices paid are comparatively high. Proof of the
desire of the Department to help forward the stock
industr\' is the fact that the proceeds of the last sale
liave been devoted to the importation of more pure-
bred bulls -a policy that I trust will be continued,
as it will ])rove of great benefit to the countr>'.

The Farm is roughly 4,500 acres in extent, and schedule of
at present carries the follo^^^ng stock : — STOCK.

Cattle, as already enumerated ... 396

Sheep, both pure and grade ... ... 3,300

Pure Angora and Grade Angora Goats 320

Pure Catalonian Jackass ... ... i


Half and Three-quarter bred Catalonian

Donkeys ... ... ... 127

Native Donkey Mares ... ... 43

Ostriches ... ... ... ... 28



These numbers include both young and old. As
the P'ann pays its way and is no cost on the
Protectorate, it will be seen that the stock have done
well, that they have not been pampered, and that the
place has been run on connnon-sense lines.

N. A. McGregor,

General Manager.


GAME STILL /^AME has played an important part in the develop-
ABUNDANT. ^^ Hicnt of East Africa. Many attracted in the
first instance by the prospects of sport, have re-
mained to exploit the business possibilities of the
country. As civilization has advanced, the game has,
to a certain extent, retired, but it is still as abundant
as ever away from settled areas, and many private
land owners are jealously protecting the herds on
their own land.

EFFECTS OF Government has wisely guarded against a repeti-

THE GAME tion of the wanton slaughter which has destroyed

REGULATIONS, the recreation of thousands in other parts of the
world, by carefully considered Game Regulations..
These, while liberal to the sportsman, are framed with
a due regard to protection of the game, and if the
present system is continued there appears to be no
reason why East Africa should not permanently retain
its Happy Hunting Grounds without interference
with the farmer.

ARGUMENTS Undoubtedly the prevalence of large quantities

FOR AND of game side by side with agricultural and stock

AGAINST. farming entails certain risks, but it is urged by

RETENTION. those in favour of retention of the game that cor-
responding advantages in turn outweigh the dis-


'Photo b\) W. T>. Young.



Photo hy W. D. Young.


advantages. An attempt is made below to tabulate
sSide by side the arguments for and against : —



(i) Many of the worst
stock diseases are tick
borne: e.g., East Coast
Fever. Ticks attach
themselves to the game
and are carried amongst
domestic animals.

(2) Eland, Buflfalo,
Kudu and Duiker arc
accused of carrying Rin-

(3) Damage to fences.

(i) The existence or EAST COAST
absence of ticks has little FEVER,
or no relation to the
quantity of game : e.g.
the Uasin Gishu, the
Illoita Plains, the Rift
Valley and the X. C.uaso
Xyiro have larger herds
of game than anywhere
else in East Africa. Ticks
in some of these areas are
entirely, and in others
almost entirely, absent.

(2) Not proven. Vul- rinderpest.

tiux'S are su.spected of
being the main culprits,
as they travel long dis-
tances and after feeding
on a Rinderpest-stricken
animal their excrement
may diseminate the .•^enn
of Rinderpest. It is point-
ed out that Rinderpest
spreads more rapidly in
South Africa over game-
less country than it lias
ever done in East Africa.

(3) So far as grazing fencing.
areas are concerned, the
game speedily learns to
respect fencing, although
damage is caused to com-
mence with. On Lord
Delamere's Soysambu Es-
tate there are many miles
of fencing, with large
herds of game on the one
side and large herds of
cattle on the other. The
game does not attempt to
interfere with the fencing.



(4) Damage to stand-
ing crops.


(5) Destruction of grass
required for feed of
domestic stock.

(4) That, broadly
speaking, the principal
agricultural centres are
situate in areas naturally
devoid of game. That
the remedy lies in the
owner's own hands — the
Game Regulations pro-
viding for wholesale des-
truction when the game
is damaging crops.

(5) That until the farm
is sufficiently stocked
with domestic animals
the game keeps the grass
short and sweet. That
feed only becomes scarce
when a district becomes
greatly developed. In
this case the game auto-
matically retires in face of
civilisation, and ceases to
be a menace.

TSETSE FLY. (6) Tsetse Fly feeds

principally on game and
the retention of game
provides a breeding host
for this dangerous insect.

(6) Emphatically dis-
puted by the scientist.
Numerous instances are
cited in East Africa of the
continuous existence of
game and the complete
absence of Tsetse Fly, and
of the continuous presence
of Tsetse Fly in the
absence of game.



It should be remembered that for centuries the
natives have kept vast herds of cattle and sheep,
and cultivated millions of acres, whilst the game
has been allowed to roam and breed unchecked; and
that it has been found in America that definite evils
arise through upsetting the Balance of Nature.

While the benefits to res.ult from wholesale
destruction are a matter of theory, certain definite
advantages obtain today from protection : —

(i) Steady revenue to Government from licenses,
railway freights, and customs dues.


(2) Steady assistance to importers, who provide further
clothing, food, camp equipment, arms and ammuni- reasons in
tion, to visitors. favour of

(3) Steady advertisement of a country whose retention.
main need is capital and yet more capital to develop


(4) Steady recreation not only to the visitor but
to the resident, and the breeding up of a virile type of
colonial. "Waterloo was won on the play grounds of
Eton", and the parents of East Africa's youth should
think twice before they do away with the game— at
any rate until they are quite sure they have some
thing else to take its place in maintaining the virility
of their sons.

In conclusion the writer would point out that he
has had an opportunity of reading most of the
articles which go to make up this book, and he
considers it of great significance that none of the
writers advocate wholesale slaughter of the game.



The B.E.A. Maize Gro>A/ers'

^rCCESS in co-operation, it has been said, results essentials
from starting simply and (piietly, the members of oF SUCCESS,
an association gradually educating themselves in the
spirit of working together and accustoming them-
selves collectively to facing difficulties that from time
to time are bound to arise. The co-operati\e spirit
is a thing of gradual growth, and under conditions
such as usually obtain in a young country like British
East Africa, the growth must be very gradual if
success is to be the consunnnation. Until co-
operative strength and confidence be established, the
work of a co-operative organisation should be of the
simplest possible nature.

Holding this view% the B.H.A. Maize Growers' work of thb
Association has adopted as its guiding principle the \SS0CIATI0N.
old adage " creep before you crawl." The Association
is at present simply a maize selling society, i.e., its

1-1 :•

entire activities are devoted to the sale of present
crops and to making provision for shipment of
fnture supplies. It is just now concerning itself with
the erection of a large godown at Nakuru and the
ai ranging of facilities for the economical handling of
the crop from farm to wharf and from wharf to ship.

E.^RLY Probably the first attempt to market maize on a

EFFORTS. co-operative basis was made in 1915 by the farmers

in the Solai Valley, who arranged to sell their crops
through a local firm, which did all the handling at a
low percentage. This arrangement was successful,
but in the following year the Association now under
review was formed, and its officials took over the

A SOLID The Association has done its work effectively, and

BASIS OF 93 per cent, of the maize growers within the imme-

FiNANCE. diate sphere of its operations have now become

members. An entrance fee of fifteen rupees is paid
by each member. Capital is raised by a tax of thirty-
seven cents (sixpence) on each bag of maize supplied
during the first year, and on any number of bags
supplied in any subsequent year in excess of the
number on which tax has already been paid. This
tax stands to the credit of each member in the shape
of capital subscribed. To establish a reserve fund in
order to ensure the general prosperity of the Associa-
tion, a tax of six cents (one penny) per bag is
deducted from each crop. A certain percentage of
the proceeds receixed from maize sold is retained by
the A.ssociation .until the end of the financial year,
when all prices are pooled, each member receiving
the same rate for equal quality maize.

CO-OPERATIVE Among the members privately a certain amount

BUYING. of co-operation in the buying of standard implements

has taken place, the handling and ordering being done
on a percentage basis by a local firm, who receive a
bank guarantee with the order, and as this has re-
sulted in a considerable saving there is a movement
on foot to make the Association a i)urchasing one in
the simplest sense, the purchasing being done through
local firms as heretofore. The Association would
ascertain the members' needs before placing an order,
and the goods would be forwarded direct to each
member's railway station.


There are certain commodities a fanner needs economical
which he can order at any period of ihc year, such bi'VING.
as sacks, sacking twine, ploughs, cultivators, harrows
and so forth. All these could be obtained through
local firms working on a small percentage of profit
above landed cost, at no risk to the Association, and
if delivered straight from the truck, at a n:ininium
of expense.

Co-operation along these lines will not only eknefits OF
result in an inuiiediatc tniancial saving, but will Co-OPKRATION.
gradually lead to the standardisation of machinery
and implements, with beneficial results to the com-
munity of a district as a whole. The uew comer,
unlike his less fortiuiate fellow of earlier days, will
not foolishly .syjend a fortune in trying all sorts of
fancy implements, but will be impressed by the
aggregation of opinion in fa\our of certaiu makes as
the most suited to local reciuiremeuts, and be satis-
fied to folk)w example. The established settler will
benefit by the labourers of the district having already
had experience in the use of similar implements, and
so be saved the necessity of having to educate them

The Association looks after the interests of maize vnuty IS
growers generally, and when comiilaints or re4 when,
cross ploughing.

LABOUR ill my estimate of costs appended I have allowed

REQUIRED. for 20 boys working continuously for the first twelve-

months, but this would not really be necessary, as-
when the clearing and stumping had been finished,
half that number might be dispensed with until the
mai/.c was ready to harvest.

THE COFFEE. 1'he loo acres ploughed, cross ploughed and disc-

NURSERY. harrowed so as to secure a fine tilth, I would look out

a site for my nursery, get it dug over, and plant my
coffee seed, about thirty pounds of seed at a cost of
about six shillings. Coffee beds should not be more
than four feet wide, with an alley way between each
to make w^eeding and watering easy. They should
of course be located near the river, and be easy to-
get at.

A SERVICE- When the nursery was finished, I would take my

ABLE HOUSE lo boys to where I had selected a site for my house,

AT LOW COST, and on this question of a house I would like to make

it clear that I do not consider that a man who has.


only £700 capital should start in building stone man-
sions, when a really serviceable house can be built
of sun dried bricks with a good thatched roof. No
other style of house is cooler than this through the
hoi season. It is inexpensive and requires Httle skill
to construct. Boys dig out earth, mix with water,
and puddle it well until it is of the consistency of
dough, when it should be built up between boards,
not more than two feet high at a time. You can go
right round the walls building them two feet high
each day, and then leave them to dry until the
following morning. The boards are shifted up day
by day as the height of the walls increases, until the
house is finished. A house of this description con-
taining two rooms each twelve feet square can easily
be built in a month at the cost of the labour and
door.-i and windows.

The land being ready and the rains having it.ahting.
broken, I would start my drag harrow to work level-
ing and fining down the soil. Giving my harrow two
days start, I would get going with my planter sowing
tlie maize, which should be 40 inches between rows
and 12 inches in the row the first year. When the
maize was high enough, which should be in about
four weeks from planting, I would at once start my
scufYlers and keep them working until the maize was
too high, which would be in about ten to twelve
weeks after planting.

Now I nuist build my maize crib. In my estimate maize crib.
of costs I have reckoned ;i^5o for the cost of this, but
if I had serviceable timber on the farm and were at
all handy I could construct it for half that sum.
Allowing £2S for sawn timber for flooring and wire
netting, a double crib, each bay 60 feet long by 9 feet
wide by Q feet high, will hold 1,400 bags of maize on
the cob. This should be ample for my requirements.
The first year I reckon on getting only 800 sacks, but
each subsequent year I should get from 1,000 to 1,200,
according to the season and my selection of seed.
Having harvested and sold the maize, my first year
with its troubles and worries is over.

The second year I woiild stake out 20 acres to be planting dp
planted with coffee, breaking up an additional 20 thk coffee.
acres for maize, so as to maintain 100 acres continu-

acres for maize, so as to maintain loo acres continu-
ously under that crop. Between each row of coffee
for one year 1 would plant beans, using my planter
for this, so as to have a double row of beans between
each row of coffee. Coffee should be planted 9 feet
by (). In my second year then I would have 100
acres of niai/x- and 20 acres of coffee and beans.


Continuing to develop on these lines 1 should have
in my third year: — 100 acres of maize, 20 acres of

2 year old coffee, and 20 acres of one year old coffee
and beans; in the fourth ye^r : — 100 acres of maize,
20 acres of 3 year old coffee giving a small crop, 20
acres of 2 year old, and 20 acres of one year old and
beans; in the fifth year: — 100 acres of maize, 20
acres of 4 year old coffee, which shoidd give me about
4 tons of berries, 20 acres of 3 year old with a small
crop, 20 acres of 2 year old, and 10 acres of i year old
coffee and beans; and in the sixth year: — 100 acres
of maize, 20 acres of 5 years' old coffee giving 7 tons,
20 acres of 4 year old yielding 4 tons, 20 acres of

3 year old with a small crop, and 10 acres of 2 year
old. And so on each year. The area imder maize
should be steadily maintained, as with the increasing
demands for labour food supply larger quantities are
recjuired for use on the farm, while the stirplus can
alwavs be sold.


I'roni the foregoing it vvill be seen that of the
original ;^7oo only slightly over ;£5oo is actually dis-
bursed, and that at the end of the sixth year I would
be £\,22b 1 6s. od. better off in hard cash than when
I started, in addition to which, of course, I would
have a very much more valuable proi:)erty. No allow-
ance has been made for the cost of living, which on
an economically managed farm should not be .great,
and should be more than covered by the imexpended
balance of capital and the proceeds of sale of third
years' pickings of coffee, which I have not inchided
in revenue.



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Online LibraryT. J O'SheaFarming & planting in British East Africa. A description of the leading agricultural centres and an account of agricultural conditions and prospects → online text (page 15 of 16)