Kibwezi: Small farming enterprises

Kibwezi: Small farming enterprises



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The largest ethnic group in this area is the Akamba. As in the pre-colonial times, they depend in part on pastoral and part agronomic economy to meet most of their needs (Mbithi and Barnes, 1975). Most production systems include cultivated plots and access to communal grazing lands. Other activities are bee-keeping, sand harvesting and charcoal making. The Akamba also keep livestock, composed of cattle, sheep and goats. Rabbits and poultry are also kept. Mbinda (1992) found that a vast majority of farmers (97%) kept poultry, a few (9%) kept donkeys for transport and about 35% kept beehives, constructed from hollowed-out logs. Honey is used for home consumption, as an ingredient for locally brewed beer, or sold. Farming is minimally undertaken, with Katumani maize, pigeon peas and sorghum as the major crops. Small-scale irrigation of horticultural crops is carried out in some parts of the area.


Women of Kibwezi

Estimates of the human population indicate that in 1996 there were 166,046 persons in the area, making a density of 49 people/km1. This is a high figure for this area, which is of low agricultural potential. The main problems here are lack of water, capital and labour to make land productive. The population structure is made up of 50% young people (0-14 years) and 5.2% of the population above 59 years.


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