Rwanda Information Portal

Hunger and poverty increasingly alarming in Rural Rwanda

Kigali – Syfia-grands-lacs has been reporting that farmers in rural areas in Rwanda are chronically suffering from hunger and dramatically malnourished.

The main reason is that small farmers are no longer allowed to grow crops for their family subsistance.

They are forced to only grow crops decided by the governement and sell them in order to get money to buy the food they need.

Government officials ruthlessly destroy the crops of those who defy governement planning and dare to cultivate sweet potatoes, vegetables, beans or anything else to satisfy their family consumption.With that system, farmers are mainly toiling for those in cities who have jobs and money and have no right to produce for themselves.

This puts hundreds of thousands of small farmers in a very difficult nutritional situation. They become weaker and weaker and more vulnerable to various diseases. And they can complain nowhere.

The Governement doesn’t care about this alarming situation. They know that people turn to their relatives in the diaspora to send them money in order to buy food, clothes or medicine or to send their children to school. So, for the Rwandan government, that policy allows to kill two birds with one stone.
Farmers will feed the urban elite and will generate state income through export on one hand, and on the other hand, foreign currency will flow to Rwanda when alarmed individuals from the diaspora intervene financially from abroad to assist the starving and bankrupt relatives.

But what happens when you are a poor small farmer with a family, that you have no right to produce your own food, that the income from the government-authorised crop doesn’t generate enough income to feed you and your family and you have no relative to send you money?

You usually suffer, in silence. You can not even go to Kigali as you will just be chased away or thrown into jail, as part of the “clean Kigali” policy. Kigali is “clean and prosperous”, but at what human cost!

Some decide to commit suicide. State radio has announced in April that the number of suicides in rural areas has dramatically increased.

Others start thinking about other alternatives, like leaving the country. Unfortunately, the official version when people leave the country is that they are either running away from Gacaca courts, or they are deceived to believe that they will be better off somewhere else.

In that context, here is what Rwanda News Agency writes today in an article: 17 people ‘flee poverty in southern Rwanda’:

Officials in the Southern province district of Nyaruguru are up in arms after finding out that entire members of three families mysteriously disappeared from their homes over the past week, reports say.

Officials were over the weekend held up in security meetings to understand why the 17 people in total abandoned their homes in rural Nyaruguru district – which borders Burundi.

According to the Southern Province governor Ndayisaba Fidele, the families have left the country but he did not say to where.

He told state radio that the families are apparently fleeing from poverty. “They are being deceived by people outside that when they go to join them they will get rich,” he said.

There have been reports over the years that people are going out of the country to places like Malawi and Zambia – where it is believed many Rwandan refugees stay. Some are successfully become members of communities there.

Nyaruguru district has been subject to hundreds of people leaving to Burundi, claiming they are being persecuted back home. Government accused them of running away from the Gacaca courts. Some have since returned.

Related articles:
Rwanda: Forcés de produire uniquement ce que le gouvernement veut, les agriculteurs rwandais souffrent de faim chronique
Faim au Rwanda : les plus mal nourris sont les agriculteurs

SOS for Rwanda.

To those who care about Rwanda:
There are indicators which don’t lie. The silence and frustration of the people should not be a licence to ignore their plight. Ongoing people’s suffering can lead to more social unrest and loss of life. Please listen to the anguished murmurs of the silenced rural farmers. Please open the eyes, read the signs and advise wisely.

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1 comment

1 Alvinah Nkadimeng { 08.12.13 at 12:25 pm }

Rwanda will reduce food scarcety and poverty only if subsistance farming can be allowed,So that people can open small farms for their families.The government should have mercy to people,because those people who are holding high positions in government are not affected by poverty,they are living better lives with their families.Many people are dying every day because of hunger,the government of Rwanda should think twice about what is happening.

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