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Introducing labour-saving technologies

The labour shortage caused by the illness or death of household members is one of the most pervasive and well documented consequences of HIV/AIDS.

Therefore, the use of labour-saving technologies represents an important mitigation strategy. Technologies are needed that reduce the time spent on agricultural and household tasks and that can be used efficiently by youth and the elderly.

Recommendations include: low-input agriculture, lighter ploughs and tools that can be used by older children, women and the elderly; improved seed varieties that require less labour for weeding, intercropping; minimum tillage; access to potable water; and fuel-efficient stoves that can free women for more economically productive activities.

Labour can be saved indirectly through improved storage facilities, which can help reduce post-harvest losses and increase food security.

Home gardens with a variety of nutritious food crops could contribute towards household food production. Although home gardens can be labour-intensive, the distribution of labour over the production cycle is regular and does not depend strictly on planting times.

Small ruminants can also provide high-protein foods. Moreover, they can be kept close to the house and require minimal care.


related links
Labour Saving Technologies and Practices for Farming and Household Activities in Eastern and Southern Africa
overview of conservation tillage practises in East and Southern Africa
no-tillage seeding
Agricultural machinery, tools, equipment and farm structures, Agricultural Engineering Branch, FAO
HIV/AIDS and the International Labour Organization (ILO)
UN system network on rural development and food security
more FAO publications

  contact: hivaids@fao.org   © FAO, 2006