Improper and excessive use of antibiotics in healthcare worldwide is contributing significantly to the development of this resistance. However, at the same time there is no question that the use of antibiotics in farming – whether to maintain the health of livestock or as an aid in fattening – drastically encourages the spread of resistant bacteria. This is particularly the case in places where there is little state regulation of the market in antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals.

More food, obesity and non-communicable diseases

However sensible the aim of increasing yields is as part of rural development programmes to tackle  poor productivity, especially in African farming, it must of course come with a health warning. Non-communicable diseases are on the rise in Africa as well. Cardiovascular diseases in particular are often diet-related, and obesity is an important risk factor. Although a third of children in developing countries are small for their age – on account of their malnutrition and the prevalence of infectious diseases – there are now more overweight people living there, purely in terms of numbers, than in countries with higher incomes.