3 Beliefs About Agriculture in Western Kenya

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The Luhya or Abaluhya community is strongly hardwired for Agriculture – an activity that has been practiced in Western Kenya for many years. Interestingly, not only has farming been a generational practice over the years, some enduring, long-held beliefs have fanned the fires of Agriculture in Western. To testify to this, as time went by, Agriculture has won the test of time despite technological advancements. As a Luhya who was born and raised in Kakamega county, I’ve had the privilege to observe and learn a lot regarding agriculture in Western Kenya. 


Here are the 3 beliefs about agriculture in Western Kenya:


  • Symbol of Hard Work

Farming is a mind-sapping practice that requires both mental and physical input on a large scale. With this in mind, one of the grand reasons why the Luhya community has firmly held onto agriculture is that it reflects high levels of hard work and impressive work ethic. Harking back to historical times and to date, the Luhya community is still known for their agricultural endeavors – since some crops such as maize and sugarcane are common in Western Kenya. 


Farmers in Western Kenya enjoy positive recognition within their social circles as hardworking individuals. Regardless of whether farmers in Western Kenya practice agriculture on a small or large scale, a commonly held belief is that engaging in farming is regarded as a symbol of hard work. And despite technological advancements with advanced farming tools and equipment, some additional attributes are required for successful farming including planning, persistence, and perseverance.  That said, when it comes to agricultural practice in western Kenya, It all boils down to hard work. 


  • Economic Advantage & Sustenance

Since Agriculture has been practiced over the years in Western Kenya, one of the strong reasons behind the practice is for economic advantage and sustenance. A common adage in the Luhya community is directly translated to “ the hoe doesn’t lie” which infers the high likelihood of agricultural success. 

Whether farming is practiced for personal consumption or commercial endeavors, a big part of this line of thinking is based on the idea that since people have to feed on a daily basis, then it means that their return on investment is higher because food consumption is necessary for human survival. In that sense, therefore, the Luhya community is hell-bent on agriculture because of its high likelihood of success despite the potential risks involved. 


  • Social Bonding

People in western Kenya have a widely recognized reputation for being overly social, peaceful and for their love for eating together. Needless to say, this applies to agriculture as well. In most cases, men usually group themselves and strategize to begin the farming activities, then women and girls serve them food to keep them energized while working. This clear-cut division of labor not only underpins the importance of agricultural practices in western Kenya, it signifies the social connection that plays out while the agricultural practices are ongoing as well. 

What do you think?

To end off, it’s no doubt that most cultures usually have a strong basis for their belief systems passed from one generation to another. The Luhya community is no exception when it comes to agriculture. Beneath the mechanical agricultural practices lie some fundamental beliefs that drive the agricultural practices in Western Kenya. 

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