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Hiv Land Rights In Kenya

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7 Research findings вЂ"

Bondo District

7.1 Background on Bondo District

Population and economy

Bondo District is one of the 11 districts in Nyanza Province. It is a relatively new district,

having been created from the southern part of Siaya District as recently as 1998. It has a

population of about 238 780 living in 56 607 households. The population is extremely

young: 47% of the population is 14 years old and younger, and 58% is 19 years and

younger. Bondo District has five divisions, each of which borders Lake Victoria.

The headquarters of the district are in Bondo town. According to the 1999 census, the

�core urban’ population in and around Bondo town is 12 202, comprising a mere 5% of

the total district population. On the other hand, the rural population density of Bondo

District is high at around 230 people/km2, though not as high as that for Nyanza Province

as a whole.

The economy of Bondo District is dominated by fishing, small-scale cropping, and animal

husbandry. The district has approximately 175 kilometres of shoreline along the eastern

part of Lake Victoria; however, the economic potential of the artisanal fishing industry is

limited by the lack of refrigeration facilities. Crop production is dominated by maize,

followed by other large grains and some tubers. As elsewhere in Nyanza Province, tsetse

fly constrains livestock production.1 According to some observers this has been growing

worse in recent years on account of bush encroachment caused by a decline in area

cropped.2 Notwithstanding the large share of the population engaged in farming (see

Table 7.1), Bondo is a perpetual food deficit area. Poor rainfall in recent years has

exacerbated the problem of insufficient production. This, together with weak marketing

links, has constrained production of cash crops such as cotton and sugar.

Table 7.1 shows the composition of the economically active population according to the

1999 census.

Among the three districts studied, Bondo has the smallest share in the �work for pay’

category (20%, versus 42% for Thika and 28% for Embu), an intermediate share in

agriculture (53%, versus 38% for Thika and 58% cent for Embu), and the highest share in

non-farm family business (22%, versus 13% for Thika and 10% for Embu). The large share

attributed to non-farm family business presumably relates to fishing. The very low


Ð'©HSRC 2004

1 Personal communication, E Too, District Officer, Bondo.

2 Personal communication, M Aronson & E Idwasi, September 2002.

Table 7.1: Composition of the economically active population of Bondo District

Female Male Total

Work for pay 4 491 13 552 18 043

Unemployed 2 040 2 519 4 559

Unpaid workers вЂ" family business 11 788 8 775 20 563

Unpaid workers вЂ" family farm 31 053 17 942 48 995

Source: Central Bureau of Statistics 2002.

The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Land Rights

unemployment rates for women, men, and both women and men вЂ" 4%, 6%, and 5%

respectively вЂ" owe to the large participation in subsistence fishing and agriculture, and

presumably hide a fair amount of �disguised unemployment’ subsumed within these


The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Bondo

The AIDS epidemic has been serious for longer in Nyanza than in most other parts of the

country. Table 7.2 reports two time series of HIV prevalence rates, the one from the

urban sentinel site in Kisumu, and the other from a rural sentinel site based in

Chulaimbo, which is in Kisumu District some 15 kilometres east of Kisumu town on the

road towards Yala.

The high historical prevalence rates in Nyanza are commonly attributed to a mix of

factors, including proximity to Uganda, where the AIDS epidemic peaked early relative to

Kenya’s; the major overland transport route to Uganda, which just bypasses Bondo

District to the north; the mobility associated with fishing; and the cultural tradition of wife


Land transactions and land administration

Land adjudication and registration began in some parts of Nyanza province in the 1970s,

and it appears to have begun around the same time in Bondo. However, even given this

relatively late start, the aims of the Swynnerton Plan were further from being

accomplished in Nyanza Province than in most areas. In a now classic study of customary

tenure and formal registration in South Nyanza District, Shipton (1988) showed how the

imposition of the �formal’ land tenure system remained almost irrelevant in



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