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Journal article

Land control in Kenya


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Africa | Eastern Africa

As the land adjudication and consolidation programme made progress in the Kikuyu Land Unit in the middle of the nineteen-fifties, it became clear that the traditional system of land tenure would have to be replaced by a system based on the registration of individual titles. Customary law was seen as an obstacle to agricultural development. Customary rules of inheritance could destroy the benefits of land consolidation. Moreover, the individual farmer had little incentive to develop his holding under customary arrangements. This point of view was illustrated by the Swynnerton Plan which proposed that “the African farmer … be provided with such security of tenure through an indefeasible title as will encourage him to invest his labour and profits into the development of his farm and as will enable him to offer it as security against financial credits”. Swynnerton hoped that the security of title conferred by registration would create a land market enabling framers owning unviable...


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