Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN) SARPN thematic photo
Regional themes > Agriculture Last update: 2008-12-17  
leftnavspacer
Search





 Related documents


HIV/AIDS and the agricultural sector in eastern and southern africa: anticipating the consequences

T.S. Jayne, Marcela Villarreal, Prabhu Pingali, and Günter Hemrich

Michigan State University

2005

SARPN acknowledges permission from the authors for its posting on our website. It was originally posted on the MSU website at: http://www.aec.msu.edu/agecon/fs2/adult_death/cross_cutting/eJade_Jayne_Villarrea_Pingali_Hemrich.pdf
[Download complete version - 314Kb ~ 2 min (30 pages)]     [ Share with a friend  ]

Abstract

This paper draws upon development economics theory, demographic projections, and empirical evidence to consider the likely consequences of the HIV/AIDS pandemic for the agricultural sector of the hardest-hit countries of Eastern and Southern Africa. We identify four processes that have been underemphasized in previous analysis: 1) the momentum of long-term population growth rates; 2) substantial underemployment in these countries’ informal sectors; 3) sectoral declines in land-to-person ratios in the smallholder farming sectors; and 4) effects of food and input marketing reforms on shifts in cropping patterns. The paper concludes that the conventional wisdom encouraging prioritisation of labour-saving technology or crops has been over-generalised, although labour-saving agricultural technologies may be appropriate for certain types of households and regions. The most effective means for agricultural policy to respond to HIV/AIDS will entail stepping up upport for agricultural science and technology development, extension systems, and input and crop market development to improve the agricultural sector’s potential to raise living standards in highly affected rural communities.

Background

There is now widespread recognition that HIV/AIDS is not simply a health issue. Effectively combating the pandemic will require a coordinated multi-sectoral approach. While many in the agricultural sector embrace the idea of playing a role to combat HIV/AIDS, there has been very little analysis by agricultural policy analysts to guide them. Despite the fact that the pandemic is now in its third decade in Africa, available analysis to date provides a very murky picture as to how HIV/AIDS is affecting the agricultural sector – its structure, cropping systems, relative costs of inputs and factors of production, technological and institutional changes, and supply and demand for agricultural products. Until these issues are clarified, policy makers will be inadequately prepared to forecast anticipated changes to the agricultural sector and respond proactively.

This paper is intended to respond to the need to better understand the implications of the AIDS pandemic for the agricultural sectors in the hardest-hit countries of eastern and southern Africa. The seven countries of the world with estimated HIV-prevalence rates exceeding 20 percent1 are all in southern Africa: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe (US Census Bureau, 2002). Five other countries, all in southern and eastern Africa (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Kenya, Malawi, and Mozambique), have HIV-prevalence rates between 10-20 percent. For shorthand, we hereafter refer to these countries as the “hardest hit” countries.

This article reviews available empirical evidence of the effects of AIDS on rural household livelihoods and discusses the implications for long-term processes of demographic and economic structural transformation. We highlight four processes that have been underemphasized in previous analysis: 1) the momentum of long-term population growth rates; 2) substantial underemployment in these countries’ informal sectors; 3) sectoral declines in farm sizes and land/labour ratios in the smallholder farming sectors; and 4) effects of food and input marketing reforms on shifts in cropping patterns. Understanding these trends are necessary to anticipate the consequences of the HIV/AIDS epidemic for the agricultural sector and to consider the implications for agricultural policy.


Footnote:

  1. Prevalence rates refer to the estimated percentage of HIV-positive adults between 15-49 years of age.


Octoplus Information Solutions Top of page | Home | Contact SARPN | Feedback | Disclaimer &^nbsp;