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Wattle: The Tree that Introduced Kikuyu's to The International Cash Economy

Black wattle trees

It is a living fact that the richest people in the country come from the Kikuyu community if other immigrant races like the Indians are not factored in.

However not so many people can trace the niche that the community's fore fathers exploited to break the ceiling in economic matters. Unfortunately critics have only settled on corruption tag as an explanation to the community's strong financial muscles and investment prowess.

That is not the case. Wattle is the 'money' tree that leveraged the kikuyu from poverty as early as 1900. Due to strategic importance, the britons convinced the people from Murang'a to plant wattle as an afforestation program.

By 1920, murang'a had embraced the tree which eventually became a valuable cash crop in Kikuyu land until 1950s.

In the precolonial period, the tree was a hot cake in local and international markets. It was a key raw material in tanning extracts for industrial production uses. Alternatively it was also used for fencing, construction and medicine.

This is the tree that is credited with introducing the community to the international cash economy while other communities were struggling with hunting and gathering.

Early cooperative societies like murang'a wattle growers and sellers association and Central province wattle growers and producers association were formed as a result of the booming trade.

Content created and supplied by: Isaac_Adungo (via Opera News )

Murang'a

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