HIV/AIDS Has ‘Highly Negative’ Impact on Agricultural Production in Sub-Saharan Africa, U.N. Food Agency Says
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on Tuesday announced the results of a study showing that HIV/AIDS is causing a "long-term decline" in subsistence agricultural production in Mozambique and across sub-Saharan Africa, Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 8/24). The study, which was based on interviews with about 90 people in Mozambique in 2003, showed that as HIV-positive people become too ill to farm, they stop planting many crops, including those that function as an "insurance policy" against hunger because they produce a harvest even during droughts, the AP/CBSNews.com reports. According to the study, 45% of respondents from households with HIV-positive people said they reduced the size of their farms after diagnosis, and 60% said they reduced the number of crops they grow. "This study documents an alarming trend affecting millions of the poorest rural households. The problem affects not only Mozambique but also countries across Southern and Eastern Africa, where HIV/AIDS is just as big a problem," Marcela Villarreal of FAO said (AP/CBSNews.com, 8/24). The disease likely will have a "highly negative" impact on traditional farming knowledge, study author Anne Waterhouse said (Agence France-Presse, 8/24). "Most of the farmers use seeds that they produce themselves to grow their own crops. ... So what happens if you stop producing a certain seed type is that the knowledge around it is not passed on?" Waterhouse asked (AP/CBSNews.com, 8/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.