Previous PageTable Of Contents

Annex II - FAO studies/activities on the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS on agriculture and rural development

Annex II - FAO studies/activities on the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS on agriculture and rural development

FAO was the first UN agency to initiate detailed sectoral analysis of the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS on rural economies, and also pre-empted much of the work of this nature by independent institutions. FAO's actions were motivated by increasing evidence that the HIV/AIDS epidemic would intensify existing bottlenecks in agriculture, especially in sub-Saharan Africa; increase the widespread malnutrition; add to the problems of rural women, especially female-headed households arising from gender division of labour and land rights/resources; and deepen the debt crisis by reducing agricultural exports. Thus, right from the beginning, FAO perceived the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a development problem of critical importance, rather than simply a health issue.

Since 1988, FAO has undertaken three country case-studies in East Africa relying on the analysis of existing data to increase the understanding of the impacts of HIV/AIDS on agricultural production systems and rural development in general. These studies have been complemented by an assessment of the availability of data for similar case-studies in other countries in Central and southern Africa. These studies, which include surveys on labour allocation within families according to age and gender, labour requirements of different crops and patterns of farm income and expenditure, have identified both specific and general characteristics of vulnerable households and farming systems. They have also demonstrated the importance of home remittances from migrant workers and their loss from HIV/AIDS-related morbidity and mortality affecting household food security, food production and nutritional well-being.

Since 1993, FAO has concentrated its efforts on determining actual rather than hypothesized coping strategies in full-impact HIV/AIDS areas, with a view towards elaborating a comprehensive agenda for action that could be shaped by countries to meet their particular circumstances and needs.

The following projects/ activities have been undertaken or initiated:

(1) The Agricultural Extension and Education Service (SDRE), under FAO's Technical Cooperation Program me (TCP), financed and carried out the project TCP/UGA/2256 "Strengthening Programmes for Rural Youth in Uganda". This project became operational in April 1993 and was the first initiative to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic within Uganda's Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF). The major trust of the project, which came to an end in early 1995, was to address the situation and needs of rural youth and to strengthen the Extension Service's Young Farmers Program me and, also, in view of the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Uganda, to assess the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS on rural families and develop the framework for an HIV/AIDS component for the

Young Farmers Program me (YFP). A five-month consultancy was added to assess the impact of HIV/AIDS on rural families, young people in rural areas and agricultural production. The report, "Socio-economic Impact of HIV/AIDS on Rural Families with an Emphasis on Youth", was finalized in February 1994. One of the conclusions of the study was that HIV/AIDS is having an adverse effect on the already overburdened and under-resourced agricultural extension service. Highly qualified civil servants and technocrats are increasingly dying of AIDS and are not being replaced. In some districts agricultural programmes cannot be implemented as a result of HIV/AIDS: extension staff are frequently attending funerals. HIV/AIDS interventions targeting rural youths through the agricultural extension service may be ineffective, without appropriate measures to strengthen the extension service.

(2) Under Technical Support Services (TSS-1) arrangements with UNDP, FAO carried out a comprehensive study, "The Effect of HIV/AIDS on Agricultural Production Systems in Eastern Africa (Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia)". The study focused on three main objectives: the identification of vulnerable farming systems/household types; determination of possible impacts, both quantitative and qualitative; and formulation of response options at the farm, community, national and international levels.

National multidisciplinary research teams were selected to carry out the HIV/AIDS impact studies in each of the three countries. Special emphasis was laid on qualitative data gathering methods derived from rapid rural appraisal (RRA) and participatory rural appraisal (PRA). The final report, "The Effects of HIV/AIDS on Farming Systems and Rural Livelihoods in Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia", was issued in February 1994 and provides a summary of the three country studies, including project and Program me recommendations, and outlines a framework for future activities.

As a result of the TCP study in Uganda and the East Africa TSS-1 activity, a booklet entitled "What has AIDS to do with Agriculture?" was produced in February 1995. The publication The effects of HIV/AIDS on farming systems in eastern Africa, FAO 1995, tries to bring to the attention of a wider audience some of the major ways in which serious and fatal epidemic illnesses are currently affecting rural populations in eastern Africa.

(3) Following these activities in eastern Africa, a TSS-1 proposal for West Africa was prepared by FAO. It has recently been approved by UNDP and preliminary work is being initiated. The project will entail field investigations in Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso using a methodology with a strong emphasis on participation of the rural communities. Focus will be on exploratory survey techniques, such as rapid rural appraisal (RRA) and particularly participatory rapid appraisal (PRA), to enable the generation of appropriate qualitative information. Investigations will focus on the effects of HIV/AIDS on agriculture in Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire, but will follow a gender-sensitive approach, by assessing the different needs and pastoral labour migration strategies for women and men, as HIV/AIDS affects both men and women in rural areas. Both countries are bound together by shared borders and have very strong migration ties, Burkina Faso being one of the poorest and least-developed countries, while Côte d'Ivoire is one of the most affluent countries in West Africa. The TSS-1 studies in Eastern and Western Africa did not cover the impact of HIV/AIDS on the pastoral population. As the pastoralists form an important part of Burkinabe population, a specific study with a particular approach is required to analyze the impact of the epidemic on the livelihood of pastoralists.

(4) In view of growing evidence of the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on agricultural production systems and thus on agricultural extension programmes in many developing countries, SDRE envisages possible studies and training activities related to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, with focus on its implications/consequences on agricultural extension programmes. .

A workshop, "AIDS and its Implications for Agricultural Extension", which was supported by FAO/SDRE's Regular Program me funds was successfully conducted in Penang, Malaysia, from 4 to 8 December 1995. This workshop was attended by 27 participants from various agricultural extension agencies, training institutions, universities, and non-governmental organizations from Italy, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and the United States. During the workshop, participants discussed the problems related to HIV/AIDS in various countries and its impact on agricultural development and production, as well as rural families and community welfare. In small working group sessions, the participants developed (a) the list of critical HIV/AIDS issues that are relevant to agricultural extension and training, and (b) the Critical Information and/or Technology Acquisition Package (CITAP) on HIV/AIDS and its implications for agricultural extension and training. Based on (a) and (b), the workshop participants then developed a suggested generic, prototype Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey questionnaire on AIDS and its implications for agricultural extension (AIDSIMAX).

As a result of the workshop's discussions, written summary proposals for conducting KAP surveys on HIV/AIDS and its Implications for Agricultural Extension (AIDSIMAX) were prepared by the Ministries of Agriculture in Malawi and Kenya, the Philippines Rural Reconstruction Movement, the Central Agriculture Training contra and the Thai Royal Project Foundation, Thailand.

The KAP survey, including the Focus Group Interviews (FGI) will initially be undertaken in North Malaysia in the MUDA Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) area with funding from FAO/SDRE. The results of the KAP survey will then be used as inputs for developing Strategic Extension Campaign (SEC) plans, messages and multimedia materials, as well as in determining the specific contents of and developing the HIV/AIDS prevention and coping mechanisms training curriculum and modules/materials for use by agricultural extension planners and trainers: the generic and prototype KAP survey questionnaire will be adapted and translated by the interested institutions that intend to undertake similar agricultural extension and training activities on HIV/AIDS such as in Malaysia. FAO/SDRE is now in the process of reviewing the proposals submitted by interested institutions in Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, the Philippines and Thailand.

It is hoped that funds will be made available through the UNFPA Country Program me in these countries to undertake the KAP surveys on AIDSIMAX and its follow-up activities, including the development of AIDS education training modules and strategic extension campaign (SEC) materials for rural outreach and/or agricultural extension workers.

(5) With regard to the investment side of the Organization's services, the Investment contra Division of FAO has been looking into how HIV/AIDS concerns can be integrated into its work. A "Discussion Paper on the Implications of HIV/AIDS on Investment contra Work" has been prepared and the recommendations are under review. In 1994, at IFAD's request, the Investment contra prepared an Orphan Assistance Project with a budget of US$ 1.45 million to be financed by a grant from the Belgian Survival Fund to the Uganda Women's Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO). The project has been approved, and its primary objective is to strengthen the capacity of UWESO to help the increasing number of orphans and orphan families resulting from regional wars and AIDS. The project supports primary-school scholarships, vocational training for orphans, income-generating activities, small grants to purchase agricultural tools and seeds, etc.

(6) FAO has also established a Working Group on AIDS, which is focusing on the preparation of educational initiatives for all groups of staff within FAO, including family members and consultants. The main purposes are to raise awareness beyond the health aspects and the potential impact of HIV/AIDS on the individual health status of staff and to include the socio-economic impact of the disease on agriculture and the potential effects on the work of the Organization. Since 1994, this Working Group on AIDS has been responsible for the preparation of the World AIDS Day, which is commemorated every year worldwide on l December.

On the basis of the findings of FAO's studies and activities, a section on AIDS and agriculture was included in the 1994 edition of The State of Food and Agriculture and debated by the 107th session of the FAO Council in November 1994. This session was the first such meeting to address the issue of HIV/AIDS and regretted the global incidence and spread of the HIV/AIDS virus which is not just a health issue, but also had adverse implications for agriculture and food security. The Council urged FAO "to continue monitoring the HIV/AIDS problem and to cooperate as appropriate with WHO and other agencies in assessing the adverse effects on food security and develop a preventive Programme for the benefit of women in agriculture".

Previous PageTop Of PageTable Of Contents