Agriculture And Other Industries

In the coast region and by the shores of Victoria Nyanza the products are tropical, and cultivation is mainly in the hands of the natives or of Indian immigrants. There are, however, numerous plantations owned by Europeans. Rice, maize and other grains are raised in large quantities; cotton and tobacco are cultivated. The coco-nut palm plantations yield copra of excellent quality, and the bark of the mangrove trees is exported for tanning purposes. In some inland districts beans of the castor oil plant, which grows in great abundance, are a lucrative article of trade. The sugar-cane, which grows freely in various places, is cultivated by the natives. The collection of rubber likewise employs numbers of people.

Among the European settlers in the higher regions much attention is devoted to the production of vegetables, and very large crops of potatoes are raised. Oats, barley, wheat and coffee are also grown. The uplands are peculiarly adapted for the raising of stock, and many of the white settlers possess large flocks and herds. Merino sheep have been introduced from Australia. Ostrich farms have also been established. Clover, lucerne, ryegrass and similar grasses have been introduced to improve and vary the fodder. Other vegetable products of economic value are many varieties of timber trees, and fibre-producing plants, which are abundant in the scrub regions between the coast and the higher land bordering the rift-valley. Over the greater part of the country the soil is light reddish loam; in the eastern plains it is a heavy black loam. As a rule it is easily cultivated. While the majority of the African tribes in the territory are not averse from agricultural labour, the number of men available for work on European holdings is small.

Moreover, on some of the land most suited for cultivation by white men there is no native population.

In addition to the fibre industry and cotton ginning there are factories for the curing of bacon. Native industries include the weaving of cloth and the making of mats and baskets. Stone and lime quarries are worked, and copper is found in the Tsavo district. Diamonds have been discovered in the Thika river, one of the headstreams of the Tana.


The imports consist largely of textiles, hardware and manufactured goods from India and Europe; Great Britain and India between them supplying over 50% of the total imports. Of other countries Germany has the leading share in the trade. The exports, which include the larger part of the external trade of Uganda, are chiefly copra, hides and skins, grains, potatoes, rubber, ivory, chillies, beeswax, cotton and fibre. The retail trade is largely in the hands of Indians. The value of the exports rose from £89,858 in 1900-1901 to £234,664 in 1904-1905, in which year the value of the imports for the first time exceeded £500,000. In 1906-1907 the volume of trade was £1,194,352, imports being valued at £753,647 and exports at £440,705. The United States takes 33% of the exports, Great Britain coming next with 15%.