Uganda Protectorate in 1920

from : South and East African Year Book and Guide, 26th edition, 1920, pp. 552, 555-556, 557, 559, 560, 562, 564A, 566, 570, 571-572

Labour (p.551)

In Uganda. - The native of Uganda generally is far more intelligent and trustworthy than most negroes and is also more addicted to work. The labour problem should resolve itself more easily in this country than is commonly the case in South or East Africa. The Nilotic negroes of Uganda and the Sudan are a race of hereditary cultivators.
An ordinary wage for plantation labourers is Rs. 4 per month without food or housing.
In Eastern Uganda, for example the Bukedi District, native wages are about Rs. 3 per month without food, which costs about Rs. 1 1/2 more. In Toro adults are paid 2 d. a day; youths, 1 d. a day, without food or lodging.
Owing to the rate of wages and the intelligence of the natives, the white community is able to superintend a far larger amount of labour than is customary in most parts of the world. The supply is usually sufficient, though at certain seasons there is an occasional scarcity. Later on, however, railways and mechanical transport will set free tens of thousands now employed in porterage. Many porters from Uganda were employed in the military operations against the Germans.

Acquisition of Land (p.555-556)

Uganda. - Transactions in land are subject to the Uganda Agreement of 1900; the Crown Lands Ordinance of 1903 and rules thereunder; the Buganda Land Laws of 1908 and 1909, etc.
Subject to rights of natives or of the Crown, which are carefully guarded, land may be purchased from actual owners at prices which owing to the nature of the country and the means of transport, vary greatly. In settled districts the average price is from L 1 to L 3 per acre, development conditions being imposed.

Crown Land. - The usual method adopted is for a settler to select a piece of land not exceeding 1,000 acres and to beacon it roughly off. Application is then made to the land officer for this land, a bank reference being given affirming that the applicant is able to effect development. "Development" means one tenth brought under cultivation or an expenditure of ten shillings per acre within three years from the date of survey, during which time an annual rent of 5 per cent. of the purchase price, usually around Rs. 6 per acre, is paid. If the application is favorably considered, Rs. 300 (L 20) must be deposited towards cost of survey and other charges, after which permission is given to occupy. On the completion of "development", absolute freehold is granted.
Personal residence is not required, but both native and Crown land must be occupied and improved, improvements covering a wide range from the draining of swamps, clearing of bush, cultivation of the soil and sinking of wells, etc., to the building of houses.
Estates placed in the charge of natives require frequent inspection. As regards coffee plantations, if 10 or 12 months seedlings are put in, it is possible to obtain two or more crops before the price of converting Crown land to freehold falls due. The first full crop frequently pays all expenses, including purchase.
Land on which instalments remain unpaid; which is unoccupied for a longer term than twenty months; which is neglected or which is not cultivated according to the conditions imposed by the Crown, may after the expiration of a statutary notice, be forfeited.
The Crown retains the right to all minerals, precious stones, mineral oils, building stone or stone needed for public purposes, water, timber, rights of way, etc., and can make roads or railways through properties exceeding an area of 100 acres in extent without paying compensation for anything but actual damage. On freehold land, however, timber becomes the property of the purchaser, and on leased land the lessee may cut down timber for fencing and other purposes.
When railway stations, sidings or other similar adjuncts to Public Works are constructed, compensation is paid for the land occupied. Damage done to cultivated land, for whatever purpose, is paid for.
Survey fees, which vary from R. 1 per acre on plots of 15 acres to 1 anna per acre on estates exceeding 3,200 acres, are payable by the applicant.
Land within the surveyed area occupied by Natives at the time the lease is granted does not pass to the lessee until such occupation ceases.
Freehold land is not sold by the Crown in lots of more than 1,000 acres without the approval of the Secretary of State.
Travellers and their servants have the right to camp for 48 hours on uncultivated farm land if more than a quarter mile from a dwelling house, and to have access with their servants and animals to any river, stream or lake.
The Crown reserves the power to grant to third parties prospecting rights and rights to take away building and other stone, provided compensation for damage be paid.
In Uganda considerable tracts of land, known as "mailo" land, have been granted by treaty to the King and his chiefs, who may not sell it without the consent of the Governor and the Native Lukiku. Any land so sold by consent usually passes to the Crown and is afterwards granted to the purchaser in the ordinary terms of a Crown Lease. Compliance with the conditions imposed entitles the purchaser of a freehold, after which he is free to sell the land to anybody. Non-compliance may entail forfeiture of the land to the Crown.
Outside of this "mailo" land, of land deemed to be properly occupied by natives, and of land already alienated, the remaining land in the Kingdom og Uganda and in the other provinces incorporated in the Uganda Protectorate is vested in the Crown.
Even freehold land held by natives may not be purchased without the consent of the Lusiku or Native Council which must be ratified by the Governor. Such land then becomes subject to the same improvement clauses as Crown Land. Pending completion of the necessary developments, the grant of freehold is withheld. No European may possess more than 1,000 acres.
Land in the Provinces of Usoga and Toro is easier of acquisition than in Uganda itself.
In 1917-18, 3,247 acres of Crown Lands were sold at an average of 8 s. 3 d. per acre, as compared with 4 s. 7 d. for the previous year; in the same year 11,524 acres were leased at a rental of 4 1/2 d.

Irrigation (p.557)

Uganda. - Irrigation is generally unnecessary in Uganda and is not practised.
No stream or lake can be interfered with by private individuals, even by making a well in the close neighbourhood without permission.
Permission for water rights for more than one year can only be granted after statutory publication in the official gazette, and in case of no valid objection being raised. Such permission, if granted on land purchased or leased from the Crown, is not definite but is subject to further legislation.

Tobacco (p.559)

In Uganda it is apt to suffer from mildew and hail. 2,686 acres were under this crop in 1918.

Coffee (p.560)

Uganda, in 1918, 12,578 acres of coffee are returned as under native cultivation and (1918) 14,608 under European, with whom it continues to be the principal crop; in some instances results have proven disappointing, and a great damage of the 1917-18 crop by insect pests is reputed. The greater part of the plantations are in Buganda and Masindi.
Coffee in Uganda, planted from the seed, will usually commence to fruit at two years. There are two crops per annum and trees at four years should average at least 1 lb. per crop in the parchment, though individual trees may produce as much as 3 lbs. each.
Suitable uncleared land can probably be purchased at about L 3 per acre, in which case its cost when cleared and planted should not exceed L 7 per acre. About 900 plants go to the acre and it is usual to interplant with rubber or some other tree for the sake of shade, though the value of shade is a disputed point.
Messrs. Brown & Hunter, authors of "Planting in Uganda", estimate that the cost of clearing, planting, upkeep, management, buildings and machinery necessary to open up plantations in Uganda are approximately as follows : - Per 100 acres under coffee, L 1,500; coffee and para rubber interplanted, L 1,500; para rubber only, L 2,000; cocoa, L 2,000. In Nicaragua, coffee trees, sixty years old, are still bearing.

Cotton (p.562)

Cotton was first planted to any extent in Uganda in 1909. Although cultivation has been greatly discouraged by the difficulty of transport referred to elsewhere, prior to the war the output showed a rapid and continuous increase.
In the 1915-16 season, 92,127 acres were devoted to cotton, and the yield amounted to 99,341 cwts. In 1918, the area had increased to 133,530 acres, but wet and cold weather adversely affected the crop. An estimate for 1918 places the yield at 40,000 bales of 400 lbs. The crop is shipped principally to Bombay.
At present over three-fourths of the crop is produced in the Eastern Province, lying between Lake Kioga and Mount Elgon, in which transport facilities are partially provided by the railway from Jinja and by lighters on Lake Kioga. A quantity of cotton is also produced at Masaka to the N.W. of Lake Victoria.
There were 33 cotton ginneries at Kisumu, and at Kampala, Jinja, and other points in Uganda in 1918, and 14 others were building.

Rubber (p.564A)

In Uganda in 1918, 1,574 acres were under native and 5,867 under European cultivation. Para is proving more successful than Ceara, and is coming to be regarded by European planters as the most promising permanent crop, it is frequently grown in conjunction with coffee.

Timber and Forests (p.566)

The principal forests in Uganda are : - 1st, the Mabra, about 4,000 ft. above the sea, as it lies near Lake Victoria and near the road from Kampala to Jinja. It furnishes good constructional timber and a certain quantity of rubber. 2nd, Budongo Forest, about 4,000 ft. above the sea, lying between Masindi and Lake Albert; area about 160 sq. miles. It contains the most valuable timber in the Protectorate, some of the trees yielding straight poles 80 ft. to 90 ft. in length by 6 ft. to 7 ft. in diameter. The largest wood is of the mahogany class. This forest has also been tapped for rubber. 3rd, Bugoma Forest, about 2,600 ft. above the sea, with an area of about 160 sq. miles. The timber is less valuable, but there are quantities of bamboo and rattan cane. Wild coffee is also found. 4th, Kibale Forest, near Fort Portal; estimated area, 230 sq. miles. There are also large forests to the East of Lake Edward and further South. 5th, Tero Forest, on the Western shore of Lake Victoria, altitude about 3,750 feet, area about 175 sq. miles, where some timber is being cut; restocking is carried out with Entandrophragma and Maesopsis berchemoides. During the rainy season the forest is a swamp. This forest contains a quantity of the valuable yellow-wood tree, mentioned in the article on Timber in the South African section. The same tree also exists on Mount Ruwenzori at an altitude of 9,000 ft.
No one arriving in Uganda can fail to admire the beauty of the standing timber, which offers a most refreshing contrast to that seen in the Rift Valley and other parts of B.E.A. Though many species are common to both places, Uganda is fortunate in possessing many species found in West Africa, amongst them being the West African mahogany (Khaya senegalensis).
The scenery in the forests is often exquisite and is extraordinarily varied, the growth differing greatly in each forest and providing a never-failing series of interest to the traveller.

Minerals (p.570)

Uganda. - The writer knows of no payable propositions in any metal.

Mining Laws (p.571-572)

Uganda. - Licenses to prospect on Crown Land cost Rs.5 per six months. The holder may beacon off a prospecting area. If on this area he finds gold, silver or precious stones not within three miles of any previous discovery, he may abandon his area and select five alluvial or seven quartz claims, to be marked off and registered on prospector's claims. Alluvial claims measure 150 ft. x 150 ft.; quartz claims, 150 ft. x 400 ft.
The area leased under a mining lease may not exceed 25 acres (rental Rs. 20 per acre per annum), nor under a mineral lease, 506 acres (rental Rs. 5 per acre per annum).
Royalties on gold, Rs. 2 per oz.; on silver, Annas 2 per oz.; on diamonds, 2 1/2 per cent.; on coal, Annas 8 per ton; and on other products as the Governor may fix.

This page is part of World History at KMLA
Last revised on February 13th 2002

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