Tobacco Contract Farming
This chapter compares the tobacco-growing project of British American Tobacco (BAT) with the government and international aid agencies' projects in Kenya, revealing that the tobacco-growing project offered inputs on credit without land titles as collateral security. While the government and international aid agencies' projects were an exercise in strategic complexity, the tobacco-growing project was an exercise in strategic simplicity. The BAT story suggests just how tightly a big organization with a strict, streamlined management and an expensive “extension” apparatus can control crop production for a highly lucrative cash crop—and how deeply, in doing so, it can affect the ecology and economy of a region it touches. The chapter suggests that the changes are by no means limited to material or financial ones; they profoundly influence social and indeed religious life as well.
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