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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Up in Smoke: Peasants, Capital and the Colonial State in the Tobacco Industry in Western Kenya
Author:Maxon, Robert M.ISNI
Year:1994
Periodical:African Economic History
Issue:22
Pages:111-139
Language:English
Geographic terms:Kenya
Great Britain
Subjects:colonialism
tobacco
Economics and Trade
History and Exploration
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3601670
Abstract:The attempt to introduce tobacco as a cash crop amongst peasant households in the North and Central Kavirondo Districts of Nyanza Province in western Kenya formed part of the colonial State's campaign to promote African agriculture during the 1930s. This endeavour was characterized by a complex interplay of interests involving peasants, the colonial State, and local and international capital. As a result of this process, the tobacco campaign went 'up in smoke' in 1939. The actions of peasant households were an important factor in this failure. They were never happy with the system of planting, and, as the State continued to insist on communal plots of limited size, enthusiasm waned as the decade wore on. Economic factors also played a considerable role in the lack of peasant zeal for tobacco that had emerged by 1939. With the rise in maize prices in the late 1930s, that crop provided a more lucrative alternative. The actions of the State were a crucial factor responsible for the failure. A huge measure of State control, pressure and coercion marked the cultivation and curing process. The State's pervasive role in the tobacco marketing process and the division between Department of Agriculture headquarters and Nyanza officials as to the firm, local or multinational, which should be allowed to buy cured leaf and manufacture cigarettes, also had a negative impact. Notes, ref.
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