The pioneers: Sisal grower whose name is popular with Nairobi’s vehicle spare parts trade

Clockwise from left; A sisal plantation near Makongeni Primary School in Rongai, Nakuru, Ewart Scott Grogan, who is the pioneer of sisal farming in the country having mainly grown the crop in Taita Taveta, and Grogan's castle, his home on Taita Taveta County. FILE PHOTOS | NMG

What you need to know:

  • In 1903, Grogan’s partners in South Africa sent him to apply for a timber concession in the East Africa Protectorate, as Kenya was then known.
  • Grogan’s exploitation of forest resources led to massive destruction of one of the largest forest covers and water towers in the country – the Mau.
  • The British authorities in Kenya then imported sisal bulbils from their southern neighbour to try it out at Punda Mlia and Gazi, where it did quite well.
  • Gunny bags were used for packaging agricultural products such as wheat, maize and sugar for export. The imports of manufactured sisal products from Britain were much more expensive than the semi-processed sisal exported from Kenya.

Ewart Scott Grogan was born in London in 1873 and educated at Winchester and Jesus College, Cambridge.

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