by Elissa Jobson, Good Governance Africa, South Africa - Pascasie Miburo stands in the middle of a small clearing, seeking refuge from the sun under the meagre shade provided by a spindly tree. “This is my plot,” says the 30-year-old woman, stretching her arm to describe a ten-square-metre patch of parched earth in north-eastern Burundi smaller than a parking bay. “It’s the share we had from the family. It is all the land we have. It’s very small—can’t you see that?” she asks, well aware that this is painfully clear.
“I grow beans, also cassava, but I got sick and I couldn’t take care of these beans,” Ms Miburo says, pointing to the tendrils of desiccated plants, which creep fruitlessly along the ground. “I also attempted to plant sweet potatoes but I couldn’t do the work.” Ms Miburo’s 11-month-old daughter clings to her side. The baby, a surviving twin, is chronically malnourished—and weighs just 5.9kg. “I raised her for up to nine months without giving her anything other than milk...I tried everything. I would go to the market and buy flour to make porridge for her [but] she is still very small,” she laments.