Global trade Nigeria

By Bernice Nichols,2014-08-11 06:52
13 views 0
Global trade Nigeria KenyaWeb: Trade New US Poli..

Global trade Nigeria

KenyaWeb: Trade

    New US Policy Stimulates Trade With African States

International Trade Centre (Select “Kenya”)


Who's To Blame For Negative Impacts


Friends of the Earth Europe: What Is Trade?

    general issue

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative: Kenya

    Africa-U.S. Trade News

The impact of globalization on women in Kenya

More losers than winners from WTO’s “free trade”

Bailouts or bankers, burdens for women

    Experiences of women, food security and structural adjustment programmes in rural Kenya

    A study prepared for the Department for International Development (DFID) UK

    Kenya’s GNP Gets a Boost from Tea Exports as Living Standards Fall for Women And Their Families

    A Safer World for Women and Children I: Reflections on Economic Justice from the Decade Festival

Households and historical change on plantations in Kenya

    Kenya suffers from all the problems associated with rapid urbanization

Some of the general causes of poverty amongst rural women in Kenya are:

Experiences of women, food security and structural adjustment

    programmes in rural Kenya

    Hellen Jepkerich Too-Yego, Christian Community Services of the Anglican

    Church of Kenya

    Women provide 75 to 80 percent of the labour force in Kenyan agriculture but receive only 40 to 60 per cent of the benefits. While women produce some three-quarters of the food, there are no specific strategies to help them. With the advent of Kenya’s structural adjustment programmes, they are now having to work harder to sustain food security.

    Before the colonial era, Kenyans had well-designed systems of food security; food was stored for when times were hard. Under colonialism, settlers introduced exotic crops which they grew and sold for cash. Government policy favoured this commercialisation of agriculture.

    Following independence, land tenure systems were introduced that encouraged local people to participate in the commercial production of crops such as coffee, sugar, tea and pyrethrum that were geared to the export market. Wheat, hybrid maize and Irish potatoes were introduced and also improved dairy cows. As farmers became dependent on monocropping, so traditional farming systems began to disintegrate. This led to the neglect of food storage and to a rise in food insecurity.

    The Kenyan government’s agricultural policies encouraged improved varieties of grain and livestock with

    the aim of increasing production for both the domestic and export markets. With the use of subsidised farm inputs, credit and controlled marketing, the government created an attractive business atmosphere for agriculture. It hoped that farmers would be able to meet the demand for food at the local level and earn money from exporting. But food and other economic crises in the 1970s, coupled with rapid population growth, put food security under pressure. In 1981 the IMF and the World Bank proposed a structural adjustment programme (SAP). This has had a direct impact on agriculture and trade.

    Structural adjustment

    Kenya’s SAP recommended a reduction in the government’s budget deficit and import taxes, and in the number of civil servants. It required the privatisation of government parastatals and the liberalisation of agricultural trade. The aim was to help re-build the economy and increase the productivity of agriculture and trade. But this has not happened. The recommendations have had a negative effect on food security, trade and agriculture in rural Kenya.

    The outcome has been:

    freer trade in farm produce, but without adequate information for farmers. Lower prices for agricultural

    produce have often resulted;

    the liberalisation of food imports has caused food dumping in local markets, in the form of wheat from the US, the EU and India, sugar from the EU and Brazil, maize from South Africa and rice from

    Pakistan. This has hit prices of locally produced foods;

    an increase in the prices of farm inputs, putting them beyond the reach of most small farmers;

     the removal of credit schemes, causing a reduction in land being cultivated with crops and a decline in

    food output;

reduction in government veterinary services, causing decreased livestock, meat and milk production;

     reduction in government subsidies to schools. Universal primary education has been phased out.

     There has been a 35 per cent drop in children enrolling in primary schools, and also a higher drop-out

    rate in secondary schools.

    As a result of these SAP effects, poverty has increased in the rural areas. This is characterised by persistent food deficits, poor infrastructure, poor medical services, decreased incomes, increased alcoholism, hooliganism and loss of any reasonable protection for farmers. A recent report on development and poverty revealed that 47 per cent of Kenyans are absolutely poor in the rural areas (compared with 29 per cent in urban areas), and that the poor have higher fertility rates, with an average of 6.5 family members, against 4.6 for the non-poor. It found that 8.9 per cent of the poor cannot afford medical services, that they do not buy durable goods, and that only 14 per cent of the children of poor families attend secondary school, compared with 27 per cent of the children of non-poor families.

    Furthermore, 34 per cent of Kenyan children under 5 now suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition. This is an increase from 28 per cent in 1981, when the SAP started.

    Role of women in food security

    Kenyan women are in charge of food gathering, preparation, preservation and storage, all the year round. Traditionally, women have grown a wide range of food crops, including small grains, pulses, root crops and wild green vegetables, often on a shifting cultivation basis. Their systems have depended on seed selection and preservation.

    The cash economy and new agricultural technologies have now reduced women’s traditional role. The new

    technologies brought about the need to incorporate fertilisers, chemicals and mechanisation into food production. Eating habits have changed, as maize has replaced millet and sorghum, and exotic beans have replaced local pulses. Nutritious, traditional foods have been lost as a result, again causing food insecurity and increased competition for land between export and food crops.

    "Modern" agriculture focuses on large-scale farms that produce for the market. These farms receive a good deal of financial support. Yet 70 per cent of Kenya’s agriculture is undertaken by small-scale farmers who

    receive little support. Women farmers are overwhelmingly in the small-scale farmer sector. With few resources and little access to decision making, they frequently work twice as long as men.

    Looking after the kitchen garden is a key task for women and vital for food security. Buying seeds mostly

    local varieties and manures has to be done on a limited budget. The biggest challenge is fencing their garden to protect it from damage by animals. With most women unable to afford permanent fences, food output and security often suffer.

    Effects of the SAP on rural women

    The SAP has had some positive effects. It has enabled rural women to engage in micro and small enterprises in village markets. As a result of freer marketing, women can now sell and buy farm produce like milk, maize, beans and vegetables, and some have increased their incomes.

    But the positive effects have been outweighed by the negative. Women are generally worse off today than in 1981.

    As a result of the SAP, many cannot afford adequate chemicals and fertilisers, and farm output has declined. With kitchen gardens unable to compensate, many families are eating fewer meals each day. People can

    now afford to eat only once a day or twice if they are lucky. And they no longer expect nutritious food, but any food they can get. Lower food output and rising prices make it harder for women to buy food for their family in the market place. Other basics such as safe water, decent housing and access to health facilities are a distant dream for many.

    The government needs to implement agricultural and rural development policies that give greater priority to the development of rural economies, and to both women and men farmers.

    Christian Community Services (CCS) was formed by the Anglican Church of Kenya in the dioceses of Kitale and Eldoret in 1985 as the development department of the church. CCS has six programmes

    integrated rural development, family planning, small scale business, communitybased rehabilitation,

    development awareness and a Christian Intermediate Technology Centre. The programmes were built on the Chinese proverb "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him and his family for a long while".

    Today, however, the programmes face a new challenge the upstream of the river is getting polluted by

    more powerful people and fish downstream are dying, leaving the poor without fish. Programme strategies now have to go beyond fishing.

    Hellen Jepkerich Too-Yego works for Christian Community Services of the Anglican

    Church of Kenya.

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email