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Abstract

Labour conditions on the Naivasha flower farms, arguably the most important pillar of Naivasha’s economy, have been scrutinized in the light of global discussions on ethical trade. However, the moral expectations that farm employees themselves have in and of their workplace have received little attention. In this chapter, based on ethnographic fieldwork, I focus on the mutual expectations between the (mostly foreign) top managers, Kenyan middle-level managers, and general workers. I therewith analyse the particular moral economy that has developed in the Naivasha cut-flower industry. The chapter deviates from common approaches in the analysis of moral economies in two ways: first, I seek to discern the contours of the Naivasha flower industry’s moral economy by focusing on the industry’s stability rather than on breakdown and resistance; and second, I adopt an intersectional approach rather than primarily focusing on class. The local moral economy is constituted between actors who are in majority considered, and who consider themselves, to be non-locals and only temporary residents, even if many of them stay in Naivasha for decades. These actors enter the industry with their own morals and work-related values, as shaped by their national, ethnic, religious, and class backgrounds as well as their gender. I conclude that the diversity of actors in Naivasha has resulted in a particular moral economy, distinctive from other flower-producing areas in Kenya and beyond.

In: Agricultural Intensification, Environmental Conservation, Conflict and Co-Existence at Lake Naivasha, Kenya
Volume Editors: , , and
This interdisciplinary volume provides a comprehensive and rich analysis of the century-long socio-ecological transformation of Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Major globalised processes of agricultural intensification, biodiversity conservation efforts, and natural-resource extraction have simultaneously manifested themselves in this one location.

These processes have roots in the colonial period and have intensified in the past decades, after the establishment of the cut-flower industry and the geothermal-energy industry. The chapters in this volume exemplify the multiple, intertwined socio-environmental crises that consequently have played out in Naivasha in the past and the present, and that continue to shape its future.

Abstract

Naivasha’s landscape has been heavily influenced by human activities, not least after the land around the lake was divided into private parcels in the early colonial period. Land use changes in the post-colonial period were also extensive but have remained underexposed. This chapter focuses on the impact of a particular group of landowners that emerged after Kenya gained independence. In the 1960s and 1970s, several private land-buying companies purchased plots of impoverished European farmers, thus contributing to the informal “Africanization” of land tenure in the Kenyan part of the Rift Valley. The chapter discusses the history and development of two of these plots, Kihoto and Karagita, and the agency of the various stakeholders related to them, to show their decisive impact on Naivasha’s anthropogenic landscape. Whereas company members initially settled on these plots themselves, they started to rent out housing on these plots to migrant workers of the horticultural industry that was established at the lake in the 1980s and 1990s. The plots have thus extended into Naivasha’s infamous, dense yet expansive urban sprawl.

In: Agricultural Intensification, Environmental Conservation, Conflict and Co-Existence at Lake Naivasha, Kenya

Abstract

Lake Naivasha, Kenya, is a unique freshwater lake in the East African Rift Valley. The lake’s urban areas and its hinterlands are bustling with economic activity, but also form a globally-recognized site of ecological importance and are moreover a hotspot for interdisciplinary research. This chapter introduces the lake and the processes of agricultural intensification, biodiversity conservation, and resource extraction that unfold there. It presents Lake Naivasha as a site characteristic of the Capitalocene, with an environment that has been heavily shaped by diverse processes of global capitalism for over a century. Finally, this introductory chapter provides an overview of the other chapters in this volume.

In: Agricultural Intensification, Environmental Conservation, Conflict and Co-Existence at Lake Naivasha, Kenya