The politics and administration of agricultural development in Kenya : the Kenya Tea Development Authority

Author: Steeves, Jeffrey Sayre

Awarding University: University of Toronto, Canada

Level : PhD

Year: 19975

Holding Libraries: University Microfilms International ; National Council for Science and Technology Library ;

Subject Terms: Politics/Agricultural economics/Kenya Tea Development Authority/ ;

Pages: 0



The Kenya Tea Development Authority is one of the most successful agricultural development programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa. Unlike re-settlement schemes such as the Gezira in the Sudan or the ujaama villages in Tanzania, the Authority has introduced a new cash crop among widely scattered small farmers within the former African Reserves of Kenya. Its achievement seems even more remarkable in that it has introduced a technically demanding estate crop as a viable smallholder enterprise. Utilizing an integrated approach to agricultural development, that is, the provision of a wide range of services for the farmer within one institutional framework, the Authority has staked a leading position within the world tea industry. The central reason for this success has been the institution's early ability to generate local enthusiasm for tea-growing and a system of tight central control. The first can be traced to a credit system which offered credit in kind and on terms sufficient to allow all strata within the farming community to participate in the programme. The second is due to a system of close field supervision with strong links to the central offices. Over time, however, for financial reasons the K.T.D.A. found it necessary to restrict and then eliminate credit; this led to a fundamental challenge to the Authority's structured system of control. It was found that the ability of the institution to plan, direct and implement its policies depended directly on the participation of all strata of the farming community. This study identifies the strata which were relevant to the tea programme and their significance for central goals. The research was undertaken in Kenya during 1970 and 19]1 a particularly interesting period for it was during this time that the full effects of the elimination of credit were being felt. The author spent six months studying the central offices of the Authority and in addition lived in each of Nyeri, Meru, Murang'a, Kericho, Kisii and Kakamega Districts for a minimum period of one month conducting interviews and analyzing documentary materials. Documents pertaining to the other t ea-gr-owfng districts were also analyzed in combination with follow .?.. up interviews in the core districts. The research findings reveal the complexi~y of the agricultural community, The credit revisions of the 1960's and the field reaction illustrate the importance of the strata divisions within the farming community. The full effects of the exclusion of lower strata farmers from formal and legal participation led to aq alliance between lower strata farmers and lower field staff. This alliance directly threatened central control. The study has, therefore, direct relevance to public policy formation and development efforts related to rural Kenya. The major conclusions can be stated as follows: A.Implementation of integrated agricultural development programmes requires control. B. Control depends on an organization establishing its legitimacy within the total farming community. C. The legitimacy of the organization is directly tied to the participation of all strata levels on a continuing basis in the programme of development. Thus, implementation can only be realized by the inclusion of all strata at terms and on conditions which they can meet,