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1. Introduction

Study objectives

The study constitutes the preliminary initial step towards the planned interventions by MAAIF to mainstream HIV/AIDS into agricultural extension, as well as form the basis for developing and adapting existing HIV/AIDS messages into ongoing agriculture service delivery.

The specific objectives of this impact study were:


Uganda's economy is dependent on the agricultural sector, which constitutes of crop, livestock and fisheries production. The majority of Uganda's population, just like in most other developing countries, lives in rural areas. Agriculture is the major sector of the economy, accounting for 90% of the livelihood of the people and offers 80% of employment opportunities. An estimated 2.5-3.0 million households farm on small land holding of less than 2 hectares on the average.

Population and agricultural development are closely linked. The government strategy for Agricultural Development is to achieve a macro-economic growth rate ranging between 3% to 10% per annum on a sustainable basis. The Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA) is to increase crop, livestock and fisheries production for food self-sufficiency, income and to diversify agricultural exports. It seeks to cause small holder men and women farmers to shift from subsistence to commercial-oriented production and use of improved inputs and technologies in their approaches.

While rapid population growth has in the past been considered the greatest problem in Africa, most rural communities today face high rates of HIV/AIDS epidemic that impacts negatively on the agricultural sector. The effects have been reflected in labour shortages for both farm and domestic work, especially in rural communities. We can in this respect infer that HIV/AIDS epidemic presents a major challenge for agricultural development efforts in our present time.

Considering the complexity of HIV/AIDS and the expected roles of different stakeholders in mitigating the effects of the epidemic, MAAIF intends to adopt an enhanced coordinated and collaborative strategy to contribute to the control of its spread and new infections among the farming and fishing communities. In view of this, MAAIF has, as a response to the multi-sectoral approach towards HIV/AIDS of the UAC developed a Plan of Action. This Plan of Action, which has been developed over the last five years, concentrates on training of agricultural extension staff in dealing with HIV/AIDS in farming communities. As part of the development, MAAIF has appointed an HIV/AIDS Task Force to support the focal point to the UAC with representatives from all Departments (animal resources, planning, crop production, fisheries, extension) and relevant stakeholder organizations outside the Ministry. Because HIV/AIDS is mainly seen as a health issue, funding has been more directed towards medical related organizations and interventions, leaving MAAIF with no funding for implementation of the Plan of Action. Currently, MAAIF is trying through the UAC, to access funding for implementation. Because HIV/AIDS is mainly regarded as a health related issue, little information is available on the impact of HIV/AIDS on agricultural production (crops, livestock, fisheries) in the Ugandan context. Moreover, agricultural extension staff is not equipped to deal with HIV/AIDS as part of their ongoing work in the farming and fishing communities.

In light of this background, this study aimed at assessing the impact of HIV/AIDS on agricultural production (crops, livestock, fisheries), and provide input into streamlining HIV/AIDS messages into agricultural extension. It is widely recognised that agricultural extension workers in Uganda are not equipped with knowledge, skills and logistics to deal with HIV/AIDS as part of their ongoing work in the farming and fishing communities. This, therefore, represents a gap in the efforts to modernise agriculture.


Study areas and sampling

The study was carried out in four selected districts of Uganda, each representing one of the four regions of the country, as well as the dominant farming characteristic.

Figure 1: Map of Uganda showing the study areas

The study deliberately covered districts or areas deemed to have been greatly affected by HIV/AIDS in order to assess the impact on agricultural and fishing activities (see figure 1). In each of the district, 2 sub-counties possessing the required sampling characteristics were purposively selected in consultation with respective District officials. In the selected sub-counties, the study team worked with Local Council Chairmen and Sub-county Extension staff to identify communities that had been hard hit by HIV/AIDS and to sample the households. In each sub-county 2 parishes were selected, and from each parish, 2 villages were covered. Of the total 32 villages, 19 of them were mostly involved in crop farming, seven were characterized as fishing communities and the remaining six were involved in livestock.

In densely populated crop farming communities, at least 10 households were selected in each sampled village/community. On the other hand, 5 households were covered in sparsely populated pastoral areas. A total of 313 households, each represented by an adult member were covered by this study. Extension agents in the study districts were located and interviewed as part of the target population.

Table 1: Study districts and dominant characteristics




% of the 313 households



Crop farming, fishing and livestock farming




Crop farming and fishing




Crop farming and fishing




Crop and livestock farming


Respondents were requested to voluntarily participate in the study without coercion or offering material inducement. To capture gender specific issues, sex of respondent alternated every after selected household. In addition, female-headed households were purposively covered by the study. Given the changes in the family structure as a result of HIV/AIDS, and the ramifications this has on agriculture, child-headed households were purposively covered.

Qualitative and quantitative data collection and management

This study was carried out in a participatory manner with all stakeholders involved at all stages. First, there was a stakeholders workshop held on June 22, 2001. During the workshop, participants provided vital input regarding the study design and broad areas of investigation. The designing of specific questions was as much as possible guided by the suggestions made during the workshop. A dissemination stakeholders' workshop held in April 2002 in Entebbe and provided an opportunity for stakeholders to react to the report. Their views have also been incorporated in this final report. The study team comprised of one local consultant, three supervisors from MAAIF and Makarere University and 15 assistants for the field interviews.

The main methods of data collection, both qualitative and quantitative and included the following:

All the filled questionnaires were verified, edited and coded. Coded questionnaires were entered into the computer using Epidemiological Information (EPI-INFO) software. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for further analysis to establish possible causal-effect relationship between and among certain variables.

With regard to qualitative data, the Consultant helped by the supervisors took detailed notes in the field from focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. These were processed, transcribed and analysed using thematic and content approaches. Six real-life cases of HIV/AIDS hard hit households have been presented in the report, but confidentiality purposes actual names of the respondents are not used.

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