Rural-rural migration field in Kenya:The case of Kericho Tea Estates complex ina regiona setting
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The spatial dimension of migration reinforces the application of "migration field" to delimit areas from which urban and rural destinations alike draw migrants. While the concept has received theoretical as well as empirical support from several studies in the developed world, it has yet to be so explicitly applied in the developing countries. This paper is based on a survey of Kericho tea estates complex, for a long time the singular "economic island" in Western Kenya. Like the major cities, the destination has a threefold migration field: internatinal, national, and regional. An important finding in the study is that Rwandese immigrants, due to historical reasons, Western Kenya in-migrants and Nyanza in-migrants predominate in the first, second and third levels respectively. The patterns of national and regional migration fields from this survey agree closely with those derived from census data. But whereas some of the conventional high sex ratio districts (notably Kisii) exhibit much outmigration to the destination, some of the conventional low sex ratio ones (Siaya and Busia) contribute insignificant numbers of migrants, the latter for different reasons. Although two of the "ubiquitous" Western Kenyan ethnic groups (Luo and Luhya) migrate to the destination in expectedly high proportions, the equally heavy in-migration of the more sedentary Kisii is as surprising as the unimportance of the Kalenjin (indigenous in the destination area) and the Kikuyu (another "ubiquitous" group). The study concludes that the undisputed impact of the Kericho tea estates complex ever since World War I, is currently being challenged by the sugar industry with which it shares the same migration field, particularly at the regional level.