Photograph via Direct Relief/ Mangochi District, Malawi during the May 2013 Fistula Camp hosted by UNFPA.

Rural Women, Agrarian Needs and Other Reports

Every week, RuralReporters.com collate reports on development issues in rural Africa and its environs.

This report includes some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, blogs, and in-depth articles, carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues.

Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week:

Op-Ed: The answer to Africa’s agrarian needs lies in keeping it rural

Developing countries often prioritise urban investment, but paradoxically, this only makes them more attractive to young rural migrants. Cities absorbing these rural Africans are like barrels fed by wide hoses, and with only narrow outlets. No matter how many resources are invested in increasing the size of the barrels, they are immediately refilled, and overflow. The development of cities in Africa is largely a “downstream” solution, and as such, struggles with yesterday’s challenges while tardy in responding appropriately to those of today and tomorrow.

There is a justifiable claim that modern and efficient farming should comprise a sector in which just 5% of a country’s population supplies food for its citizens as well as for export. On this basis, African governments are therefore interested in attracting private investment in agriculture in order to create thousands of jobs, even if they are at the minimum wage. However, in the African context, where 60-70% of the population earn their living from traditional farming and hold a significant portion of the land, there is no option but to develop small farmers at the same time. Preference should thus be given to rural development in order to transform the traditional African village into an alternative means to a prosperous life.

100 Women: Are rural women smashing the glass ceiling of agriculture?

While women may now represent a larger share of the agricultural force, the types of rural jobs they can get have become more precarious.

Women are over-represented in unpaid, seasonal and part-time work.

Even when in paid employment, “they are more likely to be concentrated in labour-intensive, low-skilled jobs, and the few managerial positions are more likely to be taken by men,” says a 2016 analysis by the World Bank.

Data documenting the gender earnings gap in rural settings is limited, yet a sample of 14 countries shows that on average women are paid 28% less.

How land reform and rural development can help reduce poverty in SA

South Africa will need to review its land reform policy, with an eye to boosting productive land use among the rural poor, if it is to push back rising poverty levels.

The country’s poverty levels have increased sharply over the past five years with an additional 3 million people now classified as living in absolute poverty. This means about 34 million people from a population of 55 million lack basic necessities like housing, transport, food, heating and proper clothing.

Much of the commentary on these sad statistics has emphasised the poor performance of urban job creation efforts and the country’s education system. Little has been said about the role of rural development or land reform.

SAPS launch Limpopo Rural Safety Plan to eradicate farm attacks

The aim of the Provincial Rural Safety Plan is to bridge the gap between police, the farming community and the community at large.

Polokwane’s police team was under the leadership of Deputy Provincial Commissioner, Maj Genl Jan Scheepers, for the launch which commenced with a display from police units exhibiting a scene of a farm attack and a demonstration of what should not be done at the crime scenes by anybody.

Kenya must address unmet need for family planning

As Kenya joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Contraception Day on September 26, a lot of women in the country are still faced with an unmet need for family planning.

Women with unmet need are broadly defined as those who want to postpone their next birth for two years or more, or not have any more children, but they are not using contraception.

Unmet need for family planning is highest among adolescents (15 to 19-year-olds) and 20 to 29-year-olds at about 30 per cent, compared to 22 per cent of 30 to 34-year-olds. The level of unmet need continues to be higher in rural areas (27 per cent) than in urban areas (20 per cent).

Joint Regional Workshop for Rural Workers’ and Small Producers’ Organisations underway

The Joint regional workshop for Rural Workers’ and Small Producers’ organizations to exchange experiences against child labour opened in Accra with a call on partners to join the fight to eliminate the menace. Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, who made the call, said the scenario of child labour in Africa is frightening and called for renewed, intensified and concerted effort to achieve SDGs target 8.7 and eradicate all forms of child labour by 2025.

Third edition of Ghana Social Development Outlook report launched

The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, has launched its 2016 edition of the Ghana Social Development Outlook (GSDO) report.

On sanitation the report said about 32 per cent of rural household in Ghana do not have toilet facilities, while the corresponding figure for rural savannah was about 72 per cent.

Professor George Gyan-Baffour, the Minister of Planning, who formally launched the report, said the report would go a long way to make his work easier as the chairman of the inter-ministerial committee on SDGs. He said: “We will work closely with you on the data to report on the implementation of the SDGs. We will also work closely with you in monitoring the implementation of the government’s coordinated programme for economic and social development of this country, which runs from 2017 to 2024.

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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