Beside the blossoming fields, where poverty grows: part 1

NAIVASHA, Kenya - The shores of the broad lake that spreads across Africa's Rift Valley ... In the past 20 years, the lake shores have exchanged any lingering memories of the past for a booming industry in the cultivation and sale of out-of-season vegetables like snow peas and trimmed beans, and cut flowers like roses and carnations - virtually all of them exported to distant markets in Europe. Paradoxically, the huge expansion of fancy food for export has come in a land that, because of sporadic drought and not-so-sporadic economic mismanagement, cannot grow enough of its own staple, corn. As the flower and vegetable farms have expanded, ... the population living within three miles of the lake shore has quintupled from 50,000 to 250,000. Most of the newcomers are women who have been drawn by cash wages from traditional agriculture in villages elsewhere.


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