IN THIS FOCUS:

HIV/AIDS facts

HIV/AIDS: a definition

Global estimates

Focus on Gwanda

The effects of HIV/AIDS on agriculture: an A to Z

Case-studies

Women and HIV/AIDS

The role of rural women

Women help each other

Case-studies

Strategies

Interview with Jacques duGuerney

Strategies for action

West Africa

New study on HIV/AIDS in West Africa

SECTION START

 

THE IMPACT OF HIV/AIDS ON AGRICULTURE: FOCUS ON GWANDA

A window to the village of Gwanda

The global figures on the HIV/AIDS pandemic published each year are indisputably overwhelming. At the end of 1996, UNAIDS put the number of people living with HIV/AIDS throughout the world at nearly 23 million. A number that would have been unimaginable when the virus was first identified only 14 years ago.

But sometimes when taking the global perspective, when discussing a problem that affects millions of people, the individuals who make up these numbers are somehow lost. How, exactly, does the disease affect the everyday lives of the people who populate the thousands of small rural villages that dot the countryside? What follows is a profile of the village of Gwanda in Uganda and how HIV/AIDS has affected this agricultural community and some of the people who live there.

The village of Gwanda is located near Lake Victoria in Rakai District. Here the staple crops are bananas, cassava and sweet potatoes. Farmers also grow beans and groundnuts, which are used to make sauces or stews. Coffee was once an important cash crop, but it has been neglected due to a decline in coffee prices. Some people fish, but most keep small livestock, including poultry, goats and pigs.

Gwanda was one of three communities selected for the 1995 FAO study "The effects of HIV/AIDS on farming systems in eastern Africa".

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