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 2 of 16)
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A decade ago British East Africa and Uganda were
'^ known only as immense fields for exploration,
sport and missionary enterprise. Today, while still
offering unlimited scope for the sportsman and the
missionary, British East Africa stands out pre-
eminently as a field for European colonisation.

Possessed of immense agricultural resources, soil
of unsurpassed fertility, abundant w?ter, regular rain-
fall, magnificent grazing, and an equable climate, it
makes strong appeal to the enterprising Britisher
seeking a new home.

Where once were teeming herds of game and idle
natives, are now smiling homesteads with flourishing
areas of coffee, flax, wheat and maize; herds of pure-
bred cattle and flocks of merino sheep. The erstwhile
savage, stimulated by precept and example, has re-
nounced the spear and shield in favour of the mattock
and plough, and works in peace and contentment upon
his own plantation or under European supervision in
garnering the rich harvests of the soil.

A land of perpetual spring — of cool nights and
bracing mornings, warm days and mild evenings— the
East African Highlands boast of a climate which
may be equalled, but cannot be surpassed. Their
wealth of magnificent scenery — vast forests, smiling
valleys and rolling plains — has attracted the nature
lover in thousands, and with the unrivalled opportu-
nities for sport, adds to the attractions of the settler's

BAST AFRICA'S The accompanying map indicates the position

STRATEGIC of the Protectorate, and students of the Empire's

POSITION future are invited to note the strategical posi-

tion. On the East a deep water harbour large
enough to cope with the future shipping of a vast
hinterland, connected by rail with the vast inland
sea on the West — the Victoria Nyanza. The latter
is roughly 250 miles across, linking not only the Cape
to Cairo route, but forming the natural "Clapham

FARMING orts, practically the whole year round

Health The death rate compares favourably with the

average in England, and an analysis shews that the
proportion of deaths due to purely tropical diseases
is very small indeed. The birth rate is high, and
children born and brought up in the country are
healthy and well formed. That bugbear of countries
traversed by the Equator — Malaria — is prevalent in
tropical districts, but this is purely a question of
altitude, and dwellers in the Highlands have nothing
to fear. On the other hand, bronchitis, enteric,
influenza, pneumonia and phthisis — as compared
with Europe — are of very infrequent occurrence

British East Africa is administered under the
Colonial Office by a Governor assisted by an
Executive and a Legislative Council which includes
five non-official members at present nominated by the
Governor. The principle of elective representative
to the Council has already been approved by the
Secretary of State for the Colonies, and a committee
of the Council has been appointed "to elaborate the
details necessarily precedent to the inception of that
procedure," so that it should be a matter of only a
short time when we shall have the Legislative Council
a partly elected bod3^ The Protectorate is divided
into seven provinces, each under a Provincial Com
missioner, and sub-divided into districts under District
Commissioners. Anything in the nature of serious
trouble with the native population in the European
settled districts has been unknown for years. Their
respect for the European's system of administering
justice tempered by mercy has steadily increased, and
undermined their faith in their own primitive
methods of punishing the evil doer. In earlier days
cattle thefts were not infrequent, but the practice of
branding stock has made them increasingly difficult,
and they are now comparatively rare.

Government Schools for children of both sexes
are established at Nairobi, Nakuru and the Uasin
Gishu Plateau. The school in Nairobi can accommo-
date over 200 children, including about 80 boarders.
The standard attained is the first-class College of
Preceptors. In addition there are several private
schools in Nairobi and other centres up-country. The
rapidly increasing number of European children in the


Protectorate has severely strained the existing educa-
tional facilities, and concentrated attention on the
necessity for extension and improvement An
increased grant for educational purposes was unani-
mously agreed to by the Legislative Council in its
opening session this year, and from the attention being
shewn in the education problems of the country by
all sections of the community, it is to be expected
that educational facilities will be greatly extended in
the near future.

The native population of the Protectorate has labour
been estimated at over 4,000,000, of which number the
greater part is accounted for by the tribes from which
labour is recruited. From this it wdl be apparent that
there is no question of the labour being present in
the country — the problem is one of having it available
when and where required, and of education. The
natives being mostly confined in reserves, organisation
is necessary to regulate the flow to those districts far
removed from native locations (in their vicinity little
or no difficulty being experienced in obtaining all the
labour required) and legislation is under consideration
to deal with this problem. The East African native
is adaptable and quick to learn if given an incentive
to do so. Certain tribes, as for instance the Masai,
prefer to work only in connection with stock, their
services as herds being much in demand. Others, like
the Kavirondo from the Lake district, shew themselves
highly adaptable in learning the use of modern agri-
cultural implements, while the Wakamba, not
specially favoured for ordinary agricultural work, dis-
play marked intelligence in certain directions, particu-
larly in deahng with machinery. Most of the skilled
labour is done by Indian artisans, of whom there are
large numbers in the country, but there is a steady
flow into the Protectorate of natives of Uganda trained
by the industrial mission there, and the local missions
are teaching trades to the more intelligent of the
natives who come to them for instruction.

The discerning reader of this book will note that, fifteen
while many branches of agriculture and livestock are years
established on sound commercial lines, ensuring a peogkbss
handsome return on invested capital, others are still
the subject of experiment, or only emerging from
the experimental stage.

Inasmuch as European colonization of the High-
lands to any serious degree only commenced s

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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 2 of 16)