Head of U.N. Agricultural Development Agency Says AIDS is ‘Ravaging’ African Farm Workers
AIDS is "ravaging" farmers in rural Africa and is taking a "tremendous toll" on the continent's ability to produce food, Lennard Bage, president of the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development, said Wednesday. The United Nations estimates that among the 25 African countries worst affected by HIV/AIDS, seven million farm workers have died of AIDS-related causes, and an additional 16 million workers could die by 2020. Bage, who was speaking at the agency's annual meeting in Rome, warned that HIV/AIDS will have a detrimental effect on African farmers and the continent's economy. Noting that "most people with AIDS" in Africa live in rural areas, Brage stated that the disease is "devastating rural life" on the continent. "You have a disappearing generation," Brage said. He stated that HIV/AIDS is reducing the labor pool of farmers, "severely hindering" Africa's efforts to achieve the U.N. goal of halving hunger and poverty by 2015 (Brough, Reuters, 2/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.