HIV/AIDS threatens African subsistence agriculture
HIV/AIDS is threatening subsistence agriculture — where farmers produce to feed themselves, not to sell — in Mozambique with long-term decline. The trend has serious implications for the country’s food supply.
A study by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has shown that a large number of crops are being lost due to HIV/AIDS, flood and drought. Sixty per cent of HIV/AIDS households that were reviewed had reduced the number of crops they grow. The authors say the greatest impact will be on local knowledge and the transmission of traditional crop know-how from generation to generation.
More than 1.3 million people in Mozambique are thought to be living with HIV/AIDS and the FAO predicts that the country will have lost over 20 percent of its agricultural labour force to the disease by 2020. It is feared that this pattern could be repeated, not only in Mozambique but also in countries across southern and eastern Africa where HIV/AIDS is equally problematic.