Rice is grown primarily in the Mwea plains to the south of Mount Kenya, where streams from Mount Kenya are easy to dam into rice pans. Most of the area is however owned by the government via the National Cereals Board, which fixes the price of the rice crop. This has led to recurrent protests from farmers who feel aggrieved at not being able to sell their produce on an open market. At my last visit in early 1999, the area was convulsed with rioting protestors and armed police, leading to the deaths of several people.
Credit: photo copyright © Cynthia Salvadori (PO Box 45273 Nairobi, Kenya), and reproduced by kind permission. Originally published in the excellent "Peoples and Cultures of Kenya" by Andrew Fedders and Cynthia Salvadori (Transafrica, 1979; reprinted by Prestige Book-Sellers & Stationers, fax 00254 2 246 796). Cynthia's other books include Through Open Doors: A View of Asian Cultures in Kenya (Kenway Publications); the boxed three-volume We Came in Dhows, Stories of the Indian Pioneers in Kenya (Paperchase, Nairobi 1997); and Two Indian Travellers, East Africa 1902-1905, published by Friends of Fort Jesus, Mombasa 1998. She is also the translator and editor of Paul Tablino's Gabra, camel nomads of Northern Kenya (Paulines Publications, Nairobi 1999).