Famine, Rural Transformation and Other Reports

Every week, Rural Reporters collate reports on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles which have been carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues. Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week:

How Banks kill Nigerian Farmers – Ogbeh

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said that high interest rate from banks remained the bane of financing of agriculture and the development of good agricultural practices.

According to Ogbeh, a situation where commercial banks request for as much as 25 per cent interest on agricultural loans was capable of crippling the government’s policy of economic diversification through agriculture.

Women in Rural South Africa have a Pretty Raw Deal

It was a rough start to the week for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – for all the wrong reasons.

Her attempt to win over amaXhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu during a visit to the Nqadu Great Place on Tuesday backfired when the monarch told her: “South Africa is not yet ready to be led by a woman president.

“Women are sensitive by nature. The country’s problems have overwhelmed leaders who are men, how much more for a woman?”

The village men, of course, were thrilled and enthusiastically voiced their approval.

Kenya’s Potential in Agriculture Lies in Rural Transformation

Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the livelihoods of Kenya’s majority, providing both formal and informal employment with women accounting for about 70 percent of the agricultural labour force.

It is estimated that 10 million people in the country are categorized as chronically food insecure and with the current looming drought 2.7 million people are at risk, the most affected being women and children in rural areas. The Semi-Arid Lands represent Kenya’s next agricultural frontier and are identified in the agricultural development strategy as a key priority for future development.

However, despite these opportunities, there is a total disequilibrium in the market dynamics in the rural semi-arid regions of Kenya. Owing to a low history of commercialisation, these agricultural chains are dominated by middle men who often do not provide value but instead, exploit the farmers who get caught up in a vicious cycle of poverty as they are permanently indebted to the middle men.

In Somalia, famine is looming and families with no food or water are leaving their land

Somalia, the farm animals are dying. The water holes have dried up. The crops have failed.

With no food, water or money, people are trudging off their land, taking the long, dry walk to the nearest town to look for help.

A two-year drought —  the worst since the 1970s in hard-hit northern Somalia —  has seen three quarters of the country’s livestock perish, leaving pastoralists destitute. In the south, much of which is controlled by the Al Qaeda-linked extremist group Shabab, the situation is almost as grim.

IFAD 2017 – It’s Women’s Turn in Rural Development       

Josefina Stubbs, from the Dominican Republic, may become the first woman to preside over the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty.

She described her ideas and plans in this interview with IPS during her visit to Brasilia in the first week of February.

‘I will dedicate myself to working with the governments of the IFAD member countries, in particular with low- and middle- income countries, so they can advance towards fulfilling the Agenda 2030 in the rural sector and achieving Sustainable Development, with two goals: food security and poverty reduction. Implementing the Agenda 2030 in the countryside, supporting women and young people, and protecting the environment will be vital for the future of the rural sector,’ she said.

Nigeria: How Strong Family Ties Play a Role in Sex Trafficking

Discussions about human trafficking between Africa and Europe are frequently blurred by generalisations about villainous traffickers and their naïve young victims who have been misled into prostitution. But the world of sex trafficking is far more complex.

The lack of research has resulted in an incomplete understanding of the much more complex reality of the circumstances under which victims fall into the hands of traffickers. This has also compromised the effectiveness of prevention and rehabilitation projects in Nigeria, which seldom take into account the involvement of family members.

As part of my doctoral research I recently conducted interviews in rural communities outside Benin City, the capital of Edo State in southern Nigeria. Recruitment of women for work in Europe is rife in the area.

Recession babies: How economic downturn is forcing teenage girls out of school and into unwanted pregnancies and early marriage

The risk of death is also high in teen pregnancy, Dr Adewusi stressed. A pregnant teen is prone to pre-eclampsia; high blood pressure, sometimes with fluid retention. “This condition can lead to eclampsia; seizure or convulsion, and can lead to coma and death.”

“It is one of the top five causes of maternal death.”

The unborn baby is also at risk, Dr Akinajo informed. “A baby can die from prematurity following premature delivery, also known as premature birth. Most time they attend traditional birth attendant who administer herbs and so during delivery, they go through prolonged labour and after performing all sorts of atrocities on them and it is too late, they would now bring them to the hospital. Meanwhile, the baby is in distress, and if severe may suffer brain damage or death. Even after delivery, she is not out of danger.

Even after delivery, she is not out of danger.

From farm to table: Poor Hygiene in Slaughterhouses in Rural Kenya

Research conducted in western Kenya in the Lake Victoria Basin area bordering Uganda showed that most slaughterhouses had poor working conditions and practices.

We interviewed 738 workers in 142 slaughterhouses in Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Siaya counties. Slaughterhouses were located close to market centres where animals could be transported by foot or bicycle and meat supplied to the surrounding area. The facilities were small with an average of seven workers and had low throughput, slaughtering an average of five animals per week.

The majority of slaughterhouses lacked adequate infrastructure. Almost a third of buildings didn’t have a roof. Workers and carcasses were exposed to the sun, rain and other elements. Only four slaughterhouses had piped water, suggesting these facilities were not effectively cleaned.

Almost half the slaughterhouses didn’t have appropriate sanitation amenities, such as latrines and hand-washing facilities.

ICT signals the cradle of radio’s rebirth

According to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) mobile penetration stands at 88 per cent, and the Internet at 68 per cent. The increase in Internet bandwidth capacity has bolstered the growth in Internet connection and mobile subscriptions. Phones are also used to access data and Internet, mobile money transfer as well as radio.

Considering that mobile phones and the Internet have the potential to disrupt the traditional role of radio, it is interesting to note that radio is still popular in Kenya. Out of 372 radio frequencies allocated by CAK, 233 are used to cover major towns and rural audiences.

As Kenya joins the world in celebrating World Radio Day on Monday, the media industry views ICT not as a threat but as an opportunity that will propel radio to the next level.



Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde

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