HIV and AIDS and farm labor productivity: A review of recent evidence in Africa.


Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere*, Catherine Aragon, Paul Thangata, Kwaw Andam and Daniel Ayalew Mekonnen

Three quarters of the world’s poor live in rural areas and they depend on agriculture for livelihood. Labor migration to high agricultural producing areas, funerals, traditional festivals, poverty and loose lifestyles contribute to high incidence of HIV infections in rural areas. Poor health due to AIDS brings hardships to households including debilitation, substantial monetary expenditures, loss of labor, and eventually death. The health status of adults affects the duration of labor force participation and consequently the welfare of the household. This review looks at the evidence on the effects of HIV and AIDS on farm households with respect to absenteeism due to morbidity, and eventual death; family time devoted to caring for the sick; and loss of savings, and farm assets as disease afflicts a household. The outcomes of the health condition on loss of farming knowledge, planting of less labor-intensive crops, reduction of crops planted, and fewer livestock are discussed. The ultimate impact of HIV and AIDS is a decline in household income and possible food insecurity, that is, deterioration in household livelihood.

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