14-16 OCTOBER 2001

HIV/AIDS and food security

by Marcela Villarreal

AIDS has killed at least seven million agricultural workers since 1985 in the 25 most affected countries in Africa and 16 million more could die by 2020, said Marcela Villarreal, FAO's focal point on HIV/AIDS.

"Africa's dream to achieve self-sufficiency regarding food production will have to be at least postponed... However, I would like to believe there is hope. In spite of the large setback in all aspects of development and in particular of rural development due to HIV/AIDS, much can be done, provided innovative strategies are developed together with the stakeholders."

She added that farm production is endangered because "Labour is becoming a scarce resource and farmers are producing less cash crops and less nutritious crops, which means there is less money available in households and that vulnerability is increased." She added that a decrease in the range of crops also compounds the problem, for it leads to a decrease in plant diversity. Food production is further undermined by the epidemic; when farmers die, their knowledge of farming techniques dies with them. Those left behind lack the knowledge needed for productive capacities.

Related links:

AIDS - a threat to rural Africa

Taking stock 20 years after the discovery of AIDS

Back to main page

Click below to read presentations:

The State of Food Insecurity 2001, by Hartwig de Haen

The Impact of Globalization and Trade Liberalization on Food Security, by Hartwig de Haen

The cost of hunger, by Jean-Louis Arcand

Why are so many people hungry in a world that produces enough for all?, by Alan Randell

The potential of new technology: how to feed a growing world population, by Jim Dargie

Does it make sense to talk about agriculture today?, by Louise Fresco

World Food Day, by Margareta Winberg

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