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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Agriculture and Irrigation Technology at Lake Baringo in the Nineteenth Century
Author:Anderson, David M.
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa (ISSN 1945-5534)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Kenya
East Africa
agricultural history
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Anthropology and Archaeology
History and Exploration
Agriculture, Agronomy, Forestry
Irrigation systems
Agricultural engineering
Baringo, Lake (Kenya)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00672708909511400
Abstract:In order to demonstrate the ways in which the Maa-speaking Il Chamus farmers of Lake Baringo (Kenya) were able to respond to the stimulus of the Swahili caravan trade in the 19th century, this paper offers a reconstruction of their irrigation system. The bulk of this reconstruction is based upon 38 interviews conducted with Il Chamus elders in 1980. The first section describes the physical environment of irrigation at Lake Baringo and the level of technology employed in the construction of the system, and considers the limits imposed upon expansion of the system by the availability of water, land and labour. The second section shows how the system may have operated in response to the demands of the caravan trade by looking in more detail at the agricultural cycle and at the ecology of cereals production under irrigation at Lake Baringo. By the early 1920s the irrigation system at Lake Baringo was in decay. The author suggests that the responses of farmers to the caravan trade during the later part of the 19th century, in particular the reinvestment in the livestock economy, may well have had a detrimental effect upon agricultural production at Lake Baringo. He concludes that the irrigation system at Baringo was generated by its specific context - a specialization bounded by both economic and ecological determinants, which on the one hand permitted its development but on the other brought about its demise. Notes, ref.