Impact of HIV/AIDS on Agriculture and the Private Sector in Swaziland: The Demographic, Social and Economic impact on Subsistence Agriculture, Commercial Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives and Business
Author(s): Muwanga, F.T.
Produced by: TAT Health Services, Swaziland (2002)
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This study attempts to determine the impact of HIV/AIDS on
agriculture and the private sector, obtain vital
information on vulnerability of agriculture and the private
sector to HIV/AIDS related morbidity and mortality; and
identify strategies that can be implemented to prevent and
control the epidemic.
A key finding of the paper is that HIV/AIDS has not
affected the profitability and productivity of Swazi
businesses as the costs have been passed onto households
and the public sector.
The paper finds that:
The paper argues that a paradigm shift is needed to
recognize that households and the community are the first
line of response to HIV/AIDS, to target the most vulnerable
and accept the fact that health-based approaches alone are
not enough to deal with the epidemic. It also argues that
there needs to be a strategic response to tackle the full
range of socio-economic problems that HIV/AIDS is causing
to agriculture and the private sector on behalf of
government, the private sector, NGOs and the international
community. The most vulnerable groups: infected workers,
female headed households and orphans should be protected by
laws and government policies.
- within the subsistance sector there has been a decline of family incomes because of higher adult morbidity and mortality, and additional expenditures on health - this has led to decreased food security
- the response of the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives (MOAC) to the epidemic so far has been a health-based approach aimed at preventing new infections amongst its workforce - it has not covered core areas of agriculture and rural development which are key to food security and maintenance of quality livelihood in the rural households
- the response by Swazi business to the epidemic has focused mainly on avoidance of costs associated with the epidemic - absence of community investment by business and provision of limited benefits to employees leaves it to the households and public services to cater for their sick and those orphaned by the epidemic
The paper recommends that through the MOAC, government
should establish a multi-sectoral approach that goes beyond
the health-based response - setting up programmes aimed at
the prevention, control and mitigation of the impact of HIV/
AIDS on households and their farming system.
The authors recommend the following programmatic interventions:
Further studies are needed to establish how the private
sector can identify strategies for cost avoidance without
transferring costs to households and individuals.
- protection of production capacity - through environmental education and introduction of disease-resistant crop varieties to ensure sustainability
- maintenance of farm labour supply by protecting household members from acquiring the virus, reviving community based labour sharing initiatives, introducing labour saving technologies and training women and youths
- Community investment to provide capital to maintain production through Community mobilization and community safety nets
- protection of chains through which information on household farming is transmitted - agricultural extension workers should target women and children farmers for training on agricultural practices
- training of MOAC extension workers in the new challenges faced by subsistence agriculture