FAO report says HIV/AIDS is devastating farming and worsening hunger

HIV/AIDS is devastating farming and worsening hunger in sub-Saharan Africa, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Tuesday.

According to the report, ‘The State of Food and Agriculture 2001’, in Africa’s 25 most affected countries, seven million farm workers had died from AIDS since 1985 and 16 million more might die within the next 20 years.

“FAO expects the HIV/AIDS epidemic to exacerbate food insecurity,” the report said. FAO’s Assistant Director-General Hartig de Haen, said authorities needed to raise awareness of AIDS among affected populations, encourage prevention strategies and boost food aid distribution in badly hit areas. FAO said recent UN studies showed output by smallholders in parts of Zimbabwe might have fallen by 50 percent over the past five years, mainly as a result of AIDS. The report also indicated that HIV/AIDS was having a big impact on agricultural estates. The impact on the livestock sector was also severe. Evidence from Namibia and Uganda shows that livestock was often sold to support the sick and to cover funeral expenses.

For more on this report: http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/003/X9800E/X9800E00.HTM