Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Robert M. Maxon.


This study analyses Asian sugar production in colonial Nyanza examines the Asian initiative and the development of commercial cane farming in Central Nyanza. Therefore, the work provides a different perspective on Asian initiative in agriculture and provides a framework on which to understand the persistent state of insufficiency in Kenya's sugar industry.;The study mainly relied on primary sources, secondary sources and oral interviews. These sources were derived from the Kenya National Archives, Nairobi, Syracuse University's Bird Library, Ohio University Library, Moi University Library Eldoret and West Virginia University Library. The primary materials included annual reports of the Department of Agriculture, District annual reports, Provincial reports, monthly intelligence reports, colonial officials' correspondence, and correspondence from East Africa India National Congress. Oral interviews were also conducted to verify some information while the secondary sources were used to supplement the sources.;The study is organized in ten chapters that follow the major trends in the development of the sugar industry in Central Nyanza highlighting the emerging themes. Chapter One sets the establishment of the study through the statement of the research problem. Questions to be investigated and the objectives of the study are identified. Also, a critique of reviewed literature is undertaken which examines Asians' agricultural initiative in Kenya and the methodology adopted in the study is described Chapter Two establishes the background for the study through analysis of the movement and settlement of Asians in colonial Kenya and their subsequent settlement in Kibos-Muhoroni. It specifically identifies the Asians involved in farming. Chapter Three traces the migration and settlement of the Luo people into Nyanza Province of Kenya and particularly in Central Nyanza. It examines the indigenous economy that prevailed before the penetration of the Asian capital through commercial cane growing in Central Nyanza and question of land that arises out of such penetration.;Chapter Four discusses the genesis and the growth of the Asian commercial cane farming in the Kibos-Muhoroni area as a result of the establishment of the first sugar mill in Kenya, the Victoria Nyanza Sugar Company. The chapter also examines the progress during the world wars as vigorous experimentation took place. Specifically, the chapter discusses the transformations that took place during the post World War II period that ushered in the entrenchment of Asian capital in the manufacturing of sugar as well.;Chapter Five discusses the transportation, acceptance of cane and the manufacturing of sugar. Chapter Six gives an analysis of marketing of sugar and how the colonial state controlled the distribution and sale of sugar together with the challenges faced by the cane farmers and manufacturers due to the colonial state's marketing policies. In Chapter Seven, the work focuses on the pertinent issue of labor that is needed in any agricultural industry, the shortages, wages and working conditions and how the colonial government, in an attempt to solve the labor crisis, created discriminative policies that favored settler farmers and left the Asian farmers struggling for labor. Chapter Eight analyses the many challenges faced by the Asian cane farmers and reveals how the Asian farmers took the initiative to solve some of those problems by organizing themselves into various groups as the colonial state neglected the cane farmers and failed to see the sugar industry as part of the wider colonial economy. Chapter Nine discusses the socioeconomic impact of the Asian settlement at Kibos-Muhoroni and the subsequent introduction of commercial cane farming in Central Nyanza where both positive and negative aspects are assessed. It emerges that the positive economic effects had a far reaching impact. Chapter Ten presents the summary and conclusions drawn from the study.