Population Growth and Agricultural Change in Africa

By B. L. Turner; Goran Hyden et al. | Go to book overview

6 / Population Growth and Agricultural Change in Kisii District, Kenya: A Sustained Symbiosis?

H. W. O. Okoth-Ogendo and John O. Oucho

Reference to the post- World War II baby boom is applicable beyond the confines of Europe and North America; a similar "boom" in developing countries ushered in an episode of unprecedented population growth, setting the stage for the current demographic momentum in many of them, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. This region of continental proportions trails all others in both the stage of demographic transition and the level of agricultural production it has reached (see chap. 1). Yet the effects of rapid population growth on agricultural development are difficult to appreciate in a regional or even national framework of great physical and human diversity.

Kenya is a case in point. Its population growth over the last three decades has been the subject of discussion in many fora, although the national perspectives of such discussion conceal disparities at the subnational level. The problem is difficult to understand given Kenya's impressive performance in agricultural development, now being threatened more than ever before by the "demographic quotient," expressed as the proportion of total resources available to the product of population and per capita consumption of resources ( Cloud 1971: 9). Meaningful analysis of the relationship between population growth and agricultural change in Kenya must, therefore, be pitched at the district level. This study briefly addresses the population-agricultural relationship for one highland district of dense settlement and intensive cultivation.

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