History Kenya

The White Highlands of Kenya


British Adventures sought new lands to conquer and subdue. In Kenya, they found perfect climate and weather for both Settlement and Farming. J.F Lipscomb, who called himself, “a leading advocate of the settler community”, called Kenya a “land of the future”.

One of the Pioneer Settlers was Lord Delamere (who died in 1931), a man who is credited as the Father of Commercial Farming. He chanced into Kenya during a hunting trip that took him to the highlands where he eventually owned tens of thousands of acresstill held by his descendants in Naivasha and Gilgil.

Delamere’s quest was to send a message out that Kenya was a “white man’s country”. He experimented with crops that had never been tried on Kenyan Soil. By 1908, Delamere had planted wheat on 300 acres in Njoro.

“This wheat is altering everything here,” he boasted.
Delamere (who once served as the spokesman of the settler community) and his European Settler Colleagues divided the protectorate into two: the arid north and the highly potential South (running from the coast through Central Kenya, the Rift Valley and Western Kenya to the border with Tanzania in the South).

They met few obstacles in the adventure because the rift valley was hardly inhabited. Kenya’s Hinterland was remote, inaccessible and lacked roads. Tracks made by Ox-Wagons, which carried goods and Chattels of earlier settlers were what could pass as roads.

It was only after the Second World War that roads were visible. But two issues troubled settlers: Lack of knowledge of the Local Climate and Farming Technology. They experimented with some crops and failed miserably, but they did not seek the knowledge of the local people. The likes of Delamere spent resources in trying to identify Suitable Crops and Livestock in the Climatic Conditions.

The Colonialists changed farming:

They Commercialized it. Indeed, Europeans changed Agricultural and Pastoral Production, but not the fact that agriculture was the Sole Basis of Wealth.

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