Dominion Farms and food security in Kenya

Originally published as “Dominion Farms: The intricacies of foreign agricultural investment in the Yala swamp” in The Link, June 2011 (Entire issue | Article only)

The intricacies of foreign agricultural investment in the Yala swamp

In West Kenya on the North-eastern shore of Lake Victoria the Yala swamp wetland is one of Kenya’s biodiversity hotspots. The Yala swamp also supports several communities that utilise the wetland’s natural resources to support their families and secure their livelihoods. Even more, many people recognise the swamp’s extraordinary potential as agricultural land to significantly boost Kenya’s food security. These are three widely diverse interests, which may seem to be difficult to reconcile. Yet, with proper management, sufficient investment and effective communication, a differentiated utilisation of the Yala swamp can be realised through a system of multiple land-use. This will be a difficult but certainly not unrealistic objective.

A Brief History

The most recent development of the Yala swamp is undertaken by Dominion Farms, a subsidiary of a privately held company from the United States investing in agricultural development. The reclamation and development of the swamp, however, is far from a new phenomenon.

The intention of the Kenyan government to transform parts of the Yala swamp into agricultural land for food production goes back as far as the early 1970s. Around that time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands was consulted extensively by the Kenyan government for technical assistance on reclamation of the swamp and the feasibility of agricultural production.

Throughout the 1980s numerous reports were commissioned by the Kenyan Ministry for Energy and Regional Development and the Lake Basin Development Authority to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Reports like the “Yala Integrated Development Plan” and the “Yala Swamp Reclamation and Development Project” focussed in depth on the potential of the development of the swamp and made recommendations on practical matters, such as drainage and irrigation, soil analysis, agriculture, marketing, environmental aspects, employment opportunities, human settlement, management and financial planning.

As a result, small-scale reclamation and development of the swamp land was undertaken throughout the 1980s and 1990s under the supervision of the Lake Basin Development Authority. The development of the swamp was partially successful, yet its scale was small and financial benefits were too marginal. Major investment was therefore required to extend the scale of the project.

Then, in 2003, an American investor expressed interest to make significant long-term investments into bringing parts of the swamp into agricultural production. Subsequently, a lease for 45 years was negotiated between Dominion Farms and the Siaya and Bondo County Councils to bring into agricultural production some 7,000 hectares of the Yala swamp. The whole Yala swamp wetland covers 17,500 hectares, which means that Dominion Farms is allowed to reclaim and develop roughly 40% of the swamp.

The Protracted Conflict

Since the early days of the arrival of the foreign investor in 2004, there has been lingering tension and occasional flares of conflict between the communities surrounding the project site, third parties (i.e. government officials, politicians, NGOs, CBOs, environmentalists) and the investor.

The most commonly touted complaint is that Dominion Farms has ‘grabbed’ the communities’ land. While it is hard to trace back the exact procedures and individuals that were involved, there are clear contracts with the Siaya and Bondo County Councils that substantiate the transfer of land-use to Dominion Farms for a period of 45 years. Some claim, however, that the negotiation process for the lease was entrenched in bribery and corruption, yet no-one has been able to show this author a single trace of evidence to substantiate these accusations. Similarly, there are complaints by local residents that they were never consulted in the negotiation process – where they should have been, as they rightly point out that the swamp is community trust land. However, the land is held in trust by the relevant County Council for the community. The County Council should therefore initiate consultations with the local communities and residents to get their approval to lease the land to third parties. So it appears that some of the resentment over the ‘loss’ of parts of the swamp should not be directed at the foreign investor but rather target the local County Council and their procedures.

Alongside the procedural matters regarding the lease of the land, it remains understandable that some of the local residents find it difficult to understand why ‘their land’ is now in the hands of a foreign investor. Their tradition, culture and livelihood are often greatly entrenched in the land they live on, part of which they are no longer allowed to access. For many it is difficult to grasp that their County Council decided to bring foreign investment and development to some of the community trust land in order to affect greater food security, employment opportunities and infrastructural development of the region.

Besides the matter of the land, there are many other objections and concerns often raised with regard to the agricultural project of Dominion Farms. In a non-exhaustive fashion, some of these problems will be addressed here.

For one, there is discontent amongst local residents over a road constructed by Dominion Farms passing through the heart of Dominion’s farm. Initially this road was open to the public and local residents were allowed to make use of the road. However, when all of the land adjacent to the road came under production, Dominion Farms decided it was no longer safe to keep the road open since huge tractors and heavy equipment frequent the road on a daily basis. Still, it is understandable that some local residents were disappointed that they could no longer make use of this road. However, the private use of the road does not foreclose access for local residents to certain areas, and a good alternative road is available that goes around the farm. Incidentally, many local residents did express their gratitude for another road built by the investor passing through Lake Kanyaboli, which effectively connects the communities on both sides of the lake.

Water management and water quality is also a hot topic. Prior to the arrival of Dominion Farms there existed a canal from the river – which functions as the main water source of the wetland – to Lake Kanyaboli. Due to its small size and poor maintenance, however, it hardly allowed any water to reach the lake. Dominion Farms subsequently constructed a weir in the river to divert water to newly built canals for the purpose of irrigating their rice paddies but also to replenish Lake Kanyaboli.

Now, there seems to be a lot of confusion about the management of the water diversion at the weir, the use of water for irrigation and the supply to Lake Kanyaboli. The most frequently heard concern and accusation is that too much water is extracted from the canals for irrigation, leaving little fresh water to replenish the lake. Allegedly, this has resulted in a serious drop of the water level in the lake and certain parts of the lake turning saline. One of the proponents of this view is the Kenya Wildlife Service, yet they did not substantiate these claims with factual reports. There are, however, periodic water quality analysis reports that Dominion Farms is required to produce together with an official from the Water Resources Management Authority. These reports show, on the contrary, that the water quality and water levels in the lake have seen significant improvements over the last years. Kenya Wildlife Service believes, however, that these analyses done by Dominion Farms together with the Water Resources Management Authority are ‘compromised’. Interestingly, an independent researcher from the University of Nairobi, who spent vast amounts of time researching the lake area from 2002 to 2006, stated that since Dominion Farms built the weir and opened up the new larger canals the water quality and water level in the lake has improved dramatically. One could only wonder where the disparity in the reports on the water situation in and around the swamp comes from.

The Yala swamp and Lake Kanyaboli are important biodiversity hot spots in Kenya; so many people have serious concerns over the faith of the wildlife if the swamp is converted to agricultural land. In this respect, it may be important to note again that less than half of the swamp will be reclaimed for agricultural production, leaving some 60% of the Yala swamp wetland untouched. A number of people, however, believe that Dominion Farms’ ultimate aim is to lease and reclaim the entire swamp area. A full reclamation of the swamp would indeed be disastrous for the wildlife and biodiversity of the Yala wetland. It appears however, from various discussions, documents and the current lease contracts, that there is no willingness on the side of the investor to develop more than the currently allocated hectares.

In addition, the Kenya Wildlife Service has recently gazetted Lake Kanyaboli and parts of the Yala swamp as the ‘Lake Kanyaboli National Reserve’ at the request of the Siaya County Council. The new reserve is a key effort in the conservation of the biodiversity in and around Lake Kanyaboli. Unfortunately, the gazetting has led to a serious disagreement between some of the communities, the County Council and Kenya Wildlife Services over the management of the reserve. While this is a regrettable situation, it does show that conflict over food, water and land in the Yala swamp is not restricted to foreign investment and development.

Finally, the development plans for the Yala swamp are essentially aimed at bringing employment, food security and hopefully agricultural education and knowledge transfer to the region. In a region with high levels of poverty, one would expect foreign investment to be a welcome avenue to realise this kind of development. Yet, some half-a-decade into the project there is a sense of disappointment and disbelief within parts of the communities. Some Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and local residents criticise the employment opportunities at Dominion Farms, the impact on the local food security and the potential for agricultural education.

The employment at the farm is partly seasonal, and consists for a large part of unskilled labour on casual or part-time basis. Critics argue that these kind of unskilled jobs, such as weeding rice paddies and scaring away birds, are degrading for the local people. Yet, upon questioning the local women in the rice fields there is an overall positive response to their employment and the opportunity it gives them to generate their own incomes. Moreover, skilled jobs and full-time positions are available to the local communities – however, perhaps not in the quantity that most of the communities had hoped or were promised by politicians.

Food security is also surrounded by wide confusion and misunderstanding. Many of the local residents allege they were promised free rice on a monthly basis by the investor. Yet they state to have never received any free rice, except for a one-off rice hand out sometime in 2008. The investor argues that most people would understand that it does not make any economic sense to give rice away for free, yet that indeed a free hand-out took place during the difficult times of the post-election violence in 2008 when many communities became food insecure. Instead of free rice, the rice is sold at affordable prices to the local communities so that they can feed themselves and even become small-scale entrepreneurs by selling the rice. Other concerns over the food production at the farm are based upon unsubstantiated claims that most of the rice produced by Dominion Farms is directly exported. However, there is no evidence available to support the claims that most of the rice is exported to the United States or to prove the allegation that it is used to ‘feed prisoners of the United States in Iraq’. What can be verified, though, is the wide availability of Dominion Farms’ rice in Kenya. Most major supermarkets carry their brand and small kiosks all over Nyanza province sell the rice.

The potential for agricultural education and knowledge transfer by bringing in foreign investment and expertise is generally recognised. Over the years some trials and pilots have been conducted by Dominion Farms, which, however, have not yet generated structural long-term results. Nonetheless, the investor is in the process of building a Youth Education Centre on its farm grounds. Yet many of the local people do not believe they will get an opportunity to be educated once the centre is up and running. There is a wide spread belief under the local communities that access to education at the forthcoming Youth Education Centre will only be open to Americans. When asked though, the investor stated that their education centre and programs will be open to youth from anywhere in the world, including to local youth from the surrounding communities.

Structural Problems

Most of the current and past conflicts over Dominion Farms’ development of the Yala swamp can be traced back to three structural problems: poor communication, cultural and social misunderstanding and political involvement.

It is distressing to observe that communication between the investor, communities, government and third parties (NGOs, CBOs, media) remains even today as a key weakness in the appreciation and understanding of this agricultural development project. On all sides of the conflict it seems that parties are not interested, motivated or willing to have a proper dialogue on the issues at hand. Either because they have tried before and did not achieve the desired results, or they just take for granted that the other side is not interested or unwilling to engage. This lack of communication becomes evident when one speaks to all parties. The communities generally lack factual information about the whole project; the size, plans, activities, investment, employment opportunities, and environmental approach – just to name a few. Some of the local residents very much rely on the information provided by CBOs, NGOs and environmental organisations working in the region. However, it appears that these organisations also occasionally lack some fundamental information and rely to some degree on hearsay. The investor seems to have given up on actively providing third parties with factual information on their operations, and appears to be no longer concerned with the ongoing stream of negative press. This is an unfortunate outcome, as a more active communication- and engagement strategy could clear up many of the misunderstandings. Finally, also the regular and digital media often do not seem to provide accurate accounts, most of their reports focus on undesirable and damaging consequences of the development of the Yala swamp but are hardly ever substantiated by any factual evidence.

Cultural and social misunderstanding can take many forms. In the case of the development of the Yala swamp it appears that most of the parties directly or indirectly involved in the conflict have a different cultural or social understanding of ‘development’. The investor takes the perspective that large-scale economies and production are the most efficient way to run a business and at the same time increase food security in Kenya. This requires huge investment in infrastructure, which indirectly benefits the local communities. Local communities often respond that they favour the development of the region, yet they believe this should be done by their government. Their interest lies in infrastructural development, the availability and access to education and employment opportunities – while at the same time retaining a degree of self-sufficiency.  Most of them find it difficult to accept that a foreign investor may be better equipped, or simply more willing, to provide this type of development. Wildlife conservationists and environmental organisations argue that any development should mean preserving the natural habitat and biodiversity of the wetland, and should therefore focus on stimulating and developing eco-tourism facilities. There is no wrong or right understanding of development. However, not respecting or ignoring other perspectives can easily create tensions and bring about the types of conflict as illustrated above.

Political involvement has been an extremely volatile factor in the development of the Yala swamp by Dominion Farms. Some politicians were involved in the early days of negotiating the lease and development plans between Dominion Farms, the Lake Basin Development Authority and the County Councils. In one way this may have been a key factor in securing foreign investment to bring development to a poverty-stricken region of Kenya, however, the politicians involved seem to have made many promises to their constituencies. Some of the promises even on behalf of the investor. Even worse, on the campaign trail politicians have been found to fire up their voters to either support agricultural production in the Yala swamp by making hollow promises or by vowing to shut down the whole project and get rid of the foreign investor. Their behaviour has been erratic, jumping forth and back from supporting to opposing the development of the Yala swamp. This appears to have been one of the factors underlying the mistrust and lack of communication as described previously. Interestingly, all of the parties affected or embroiled in the conflict mention political involvement as one of the main sources for the protracted conflict.

A Way Forward

The current status quo is a workable situation, yet not a desirable long-term outcome. As explained, there is a lot to gain from improving communication, disregarding hearsay, minimising political involvement and broadening cultural and social understanding.

It is clear that a balance must be sought between on the one hand the sustainable conservation of the wetland and its biodiversity as well as the reliance of the communities on the natural resources, and on the other hand the agricultural potential of the swamp to increase food security as well as bring development, education and employment to a region that is known for its high level of poverty. Dialogue and genuine engagement are essential tools to realise such a balance between conservation, sustainable rural livelihoods and economic and agricultural development.

[Photos: Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom]


  • Tim,

    Een goed, evenwichtig en helder geschreven artikel dat alle belangrijke facetten van de bestaande problematiek belicht.
    Zoals dat meestal het geval is, ligt gebrek aan (goede) communicatie tussen diverse belangengroepen ook hier weer ten grondslag aan verdachtmakingen, onbegrip en wantrouwen. Voorkómen is beter dan genezen …..
    Toekomstige projecten zouden middels gezamenlijke en eenduidige voorlichting door lokale overheden (politiek) en projectontwikkelaars zowel vóór, tijdens als na de uitvoering aan betrokken belangengroepen moeten worden gepresenteerd.
    Mogelijk kan ook het open, democratische karakter van het Nederlandse ‘poldermodel’ veel onmin wegnemen door partijen naast voorlichting ook de mogelijkheid tot meedenken en ‘inspraak’ te geven.

    Ingrid SvH

  • muchinterested in working with dominion on collaborative food security for the purposes of enlightening Kenyans on this issue so as to reduce our vulnerability.

  • I think this is a good project, as long as farmers still have access to their fishing grounds. It is important to consider local people’s views when asking for their land. Do you share your profits with them? They are the caretakers of the land and lost income…..directly or indirectly when you were given their land.

    I am a Kenyan woman who worked for a long time in the government. I see it here in N.America that indigenous people are always compensated for their land. The same should apply in Africa. Or else, one little political instability case will see all those people “OCCUPYING” that land. Yeah…….like WALL St. Do not make so much money and forget whose land you are using to create that wealth. Do you sell your rice in Kenya at affordable prices? Or to Commodity speculators who pay you in advance? Those are the people who want to starve the masses in the whole world by making food unafordable.

    I am looking forward to tasting your rice in Kenya. I hopeit compares to Pishori…..the best tasting aromatic rice in the WORLD. Most rice here is flat and tasteless!

    • Thank you Stephanie. Let me clarify that it is not me running this project. I’m a researcher acting as a third-party observer; this is a report of my observations and understanding of the project.

      But I can try to answer some of your questions to the best of my knowledge. The profits are not shared with the local people; rather, the land that is used is leased from the local people. The land is designated as community trust land,which is held in trust for the community by the local county council. Anything proposed to take place on or with the land needs permission from the county council, who should consult with the local people and enquire if they agree with the development of their land. In this case the project has had its initial struggles since the county council consultation process appears to have been opaque. So, yes, the local people are indirectly compensated for their land, since the investor pays leasing fees to the county council.

      The rice is currently only sold in Kenya, at very affordable prices and is high quality — and there are no stones in the rice. If you’re in Kenya, most Nakumatts and in the west a lot of smaller grocery stores carry the ‘Prime Harvest’ brand.

      Hope this answers your questions.

  • I am a farmer and college professor from the Peace Region of Alberta in Canada. On June 30th, 2011, I visited Dominion Farms along with my younger son, and Daniel, a Luo from Kanan Village. Fred, an Agronomist with Dominion Farms, gave us an extensive tour of the farm including: rice fields; banana trees; fish tanks for raising Tilapia fish; the Power Generation Project; the Educational Building for training local and other people in skills associated with farming and fishing; the Rice Processing and Packing Mill; and packaged rice under the, “Harvest Pride”, label. Fred discussed aspects of rice growing including: seedbed preparation; seeding; weed management; harvesting, cleaning, milling, processing and marketing the Dominion Farms, “Yama Swamp”, variety of rice.

    In one field about 100 local women were employed hand weeding a rice field. On the perimeter of a field banana trees were providing a wind-break shelter for the growth of fish food on shallow waterways. We observed Tilapia fish being assessed in terms of readiness for market. The Power Generation Project was explained to us. The Education Centre consisted of a large building and Fred informed us that the goal is to train many local and other people in the skills required for working on the farm. Fred stated that upon completion of the programs some people will be hired by Dominion Farms, and that other people will have skills for working in local communities, and for starting small businesses. The rice processing unit is a value added feature located on Dominion Farms and included: cleaning; de-husking; polishing; and packaging Yama Swamp Rice in small packages and larger sacks for marketing locally and throughout Kenya under the, “Harvest Pride”, label. Fred said that the economic impact of Dominion Farms on the local community is large in terms of direct employment and related jobs.

    During my 25 day visit to Kenya, a significant message was that Kenya is short of food; Kenya needs to increase food production; and that Kenyans, in villages and rural communities can increase food production. I, and others, from agriculturally developed and productive countries, am willing to assist small farmers in rural villages to increase their crop production, while maintaining and developing their cultural life styles. My one week stay in Kanyawegi was like living a simple life in Paradise. I am interested in helping local farmers increase their production of maize, millet, beans and vegetables. On a larger scale, Dominion Farms is making contributions to the local communities surrounding Yama Swamp, and to Kenyans; through production of Harvest Pride Rice and Tilapia Fish; through direct employment of local people; and through teaching within the Educational Centre.

    • I am working with a group of youth not only to show that “It can be done” that is produce food from the soil in small plots,but also to demonstrate that it a respectable to farm and thus occupy for the better,a number of youths who loiter just loiter but despise farm work. so it is a campaign method as well towards self employment. We grow onions,tomatoes,collards,maize and bean,and some keep bees for honey. We need your help.

  • Hi, I am very surprised with all these only positive comments about Dominion, am sure they are all valid but a few years ago when Dominion came into The Yala swamp, there was a lot of outcry by NGOs and environmentalists mainly due to the disturbance of the ecosystem which eventually affected also the supply of fish in the Lake Victoria. This would have a damaging effect to millions of people relying on the Lake in all the countries around. There was also critisism of only providing very low level jobs. I do not have any concrete statistical figures , and thats why I was searching for any information on the net, but I would suggest the importance of looking at both sides of the coin. PS, I am Kenyan, so I really have the love of my people and country at heart, and appreciate creation of livelyhood, but I am worried about the long term effects with Dominion being in Kenya.

    • Dear Caroline, thank you for your comment.

      I can’t agree with your observation that I only make positive comments about Dominion Farms. As you can see above in the article, I do mention that there have been and still are several problems, with a fluctuating level of tension and the occasional conflict. I mention that there are at least “three structural problems: poor communication, cultural and social misunderstanding and political involvement”. But perhaps you meant that my piece is somewhat more balanced than most of the reports by NGOs and environmentalists, and indeed significantly more positive that most media/newspaper articles in Kenya. You would be correct, since I have tried to take the position of an outside observer and in that capacity listen to the perspectives of all parties involved/affected and puzzle together an account of events that should resemble a version of the ‘truth’.

      With regards to the impacts on Lake Victoria (and Lake Kanyaboli), we have to be very careful to believe most statements. There are numerous reports and accounts ‘out there’ that have entirely different findings. See, for instance, the paragraph above about the water management in Lake Kanyaboli.

      With regard to employment we also need to be cautious. You raise the matter of Dominion “providing very low level jobs”, but I urge that this should be put in perspective. What are a sufficient number of jobs? I guess it is all about expectations, and that is where things have gone seriously wrong. I have found that it is now hardly impossible to determine who has made what promise to the locals and raised their expectations — was it the foreign investor, local politicians or the bureaucracy? In any case, the locals generally seem to believe that everyone was promised a job. Regardless of the question if this is a realistic scenario to belief, someone apparently spread this message (along with the message that everyone would get free rice).

      I hope you appreciate that the situation is extremely complicated, and far more complex than a simple ‘good’ or ‘bad’ investment story. Not to forget that most reports have their own hidden agenda… So I’m not trying to make a value judgement on the work of Dominion Farms, rather I hope to uncover facts about this agricultural investment process and the conflict it has generated that will enlighten all parties involved/affected and hopefully bring them together to work on solutions for the future.

      If you have any more questions, I would be happy to further discuss the situation in the Yala Swamp with you.

  • About two years ago there was a documentary that many of us in the US saw entitled “Good Fortune”. It showed a resident, Jackson Omondi, of the Yala Swamp area whose land was being flooded by Dominion farms. As a result, his animals died and water was reaching his doorstep. I am wondering if you talked to the local residents to see how their lives and livelihood as pastoralists and farmers were being affected by Dominion farms. I often think of Jackson Omondi and his neighbors and wonder how they are doing.

  • The work that you people started in Ratuoro is good but a suden drop is alarming please do something to correct the situation.

  • This is the way to go in Africa and Kenya should indeed lead the way

  • I am a graduate student of social and sustainable enterprise (looking at business ventures that have a positive impact to the environment) and would like to point out two issues here. One is that FDI (Foreign direct investment) has a way of catapulting the economic fortunes of a people that have abundant resources (read Yala swamp) but no capital and technical know how, the prerequisite for exploitation of any meaningful resources for the benefit of the country. Depending on the investment policy of Diominion Foods, they should work hand in hand with the community as people always resent foreign companies who are seen to be making money in their door step. Of course the communities do not think about the amount of risk the investors have made before realising the final produce. If it was the government, trust me the suspicion and talk among the CBO/NGO would be different. Truth be told, governments all over the world are not the best business men. Government ( the then County council of Bondo/Siaya) should serve the table and the private sector does the serving. China grew its agricultural revolution through improved rice varieties and use of fertilizer. Dominion should also invest in research so that Booker Owuor can have a better yielding crop for his community. The company should also set up education scholarships for the bright students in the community as education is most powerful tool that can change the poorest of homesteads and this will boost relations with the locals.

    Secondly, Dominion foods should ensure that in the exploit of their business venture they should heed the environmental concerns raised so as not to negatively impact the environment as the swamp is a rich bio diversity. Case in point is what is the long term effect of chemical and fertilizer used in the rivers which ultimately get drained to the lake. There should be a balance between economic ventures and environment sustainability.

    It is difficult to please everyone in such a wide venture and complaints will arise, Dominion should forge closer working ties with everyone. This is the way to go, attracting FDI as long as community involvement is high.

  • I was recently(2 weeks ago ) at the Dominion farms in Siaya where they refused to grant me access even into the building ,maybe that has something to do with the kind of information i was looking for .I am currently running a study on water pollution in the Lake Victoria and from previous reports Dominion farm have been identified as very large polluter in the area. Since i couldn’t get any audience i am forced to go with information from previous research which paints them quite dark. So i ask if they will not tell their side of the story who will protect their interests ? more importantly what are they hiding ?
    Any information on this i will highly appreciate .

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I understand your frustration, in particular since you seem to be running a serious research project. However, I hope you understand that Dominion Farms receives daily requests for audiences and information. How interesting their business may be, when running a commercial operation you have to plan ahead and book in meetings with interested parties way in advance. When I visited Dominion Farms in March 2011, I had already established first contact with them mid 2010. I planned my visit around their availability, so I would get most out of my visit to the farm. When I was at Dominion Farms I witnessed how people show up at their gates unannounced and expected ad-hoc meetings. Obviously, the were turned around and told to first contact them and book a meeting before visiting the farm. So if you are serious about visiting them, make sure you get in contact with them and work together with their management on finding mutually suitable dates for a visit.

      In terms of pollution of Lake Victoria, I can only tell you that Dominion Farms’ impact on Lake Kanyaboli has indeed been reported by some as devastating. However, after my own research it turned out that many of these claims were unsubstantiated and often simply based on rumours or unscientific advocay reports. At the time in 2011, also the Kenya Wildlife Service was not across the situation and could generally not be relied upon for credible information. Nonetheless, there is a researcher at the University of Nairobi, Alice Arrumm, that has done a lot of scientific environmental research in and around the Yala Swamp, and in particular on Lake Kanyaboli. She may be able to give you some very useful information. Also read my PhD thesis, in particular Part 2 of the thesis, for a lot of in-depth information about the situation in the Yala Swamp. In addition, I would be happy to provide you with credible environmental reports and scientific articles on the Yala Swamp. Just send me an email if you want more information.

      Hope this helps your research project!


  • superb work for the local community

  • Iwish u the best

  • I come from Alego Komenya which is not very far from Dominion. Since I’m environment enthusiast, I went to see for myself what actually takes place at the venue of the project and honestly speaking, the project has brought a lot of improvements in the area. A few questions I asked sent me to know that a good number of the locals were hired to work in the farm, the farm products are sold to the people around at reduced prices, there is a polytechnic underway to provide skills to the youth in the area, a primary school was constructed by the management of the farm, dykes were built along river Yala which have reduced the flooding in some parts of the swamp where the local people are now cultivating, a bridge was built across river yala and a causeway was constructed on lake Kanyaboli to link Hawinga and Kadenge. If politics can be put aside and people put focus on the positives and the gains of this project, food production and entire livelihood in the area will greatly improve.

  • Hallo! Am current doing a MA research project titled “ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION CHALLENGES IN AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT OF WETLANDS: A CASE STUDY OF YALA SWAMP”. Could you kindly assist with any useful information you may have relevant to my topic? Thanks in advance.

  • I come from Hawinga near Yala swamp. The economic impact of Dominion farm is immense and more investors are needed. I still don’t understand how like minded people especially politicians can pretend to woo investors but at the same time oppose the sugar project at Dominion just because the county Governor supports it. Go ahead Dominion and develop the sugar company. It should also be remembered that when the Catholic Church came to Hawinga at the turn of last century elders refused to donate land to put up a mission. The church relocated to Busia where they were welcomed and set up a mission together with a hospital. Hawinga people have for a long time been going there for medical services

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