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Policy implications and responses to the impact of HIV and AIDS on agriculture and food security in the SADC region
2006
Southern Africa Trust


Summary of Project FANRPAN proposes to organize a regional multi-stakeholder dialogue on: Policy implications and responses to the Impact of HIV and AIDS on Agriculture and Food Security in the SADC Region. This will be in line with the broad thematic category of: Health, Hunger, Vulnerability and livelihoods. FANRPAN would like to bring together 30 experts in the region from a cross-section of stakeholders to discuss the following:

  1. Silent Hunger: The "new variant famine": The extent, nature and depth of the impact of the HIV and AIDS pandemic at the household level; The overall outcome of the impact of the HIV and AIDS pandemic on household agriculture and food security - in the context of different farming systems;


  2. Quantifying Vulnerability for Improved Social Protection: Demonstrating how a statistical index of household vulnerability caused by the pandemic can be used to improve targeting of mitigation programmes; Longer term social protection programmes and safety nets and direct welfare support for the agricultural sector;


  3. Improved Livelihoods: Reducing Poverty: How agricultural policy can contribute to reducing the spread and consequences of AIDS through poverty reduction; the cost-effectiveness of alternative kinds of investments to simultaneously combat the HIV and AIDS pandemic and chronic poverty;


  4. Human Capital: Availability and Cost of Agricultural labour: Interventions that increase labour availability but also assist with caring and reproductive activities to free up time for other activities; improving treatment for opportunistic infections so that less labour is lost due to illness and caring; alternative ways for transfer of skills and knowledge;


  5. Financial Capital: New models and products for assistance with micro-credit taking into account the particular difficulties that may be faced by AIDS-affected households in meeting repayment requirements; assistance with livestock multiplication and restocking programmes; Longer term social protection programmes and safety nets and direct welfare support for the agricultural sector;


  6. Social Capital: Providing support to households to repay local loans and maintaining the viability of such support systems; Supporting households and communities or CBOs caring for orphans; Providing organisational support and capacity building to relevant community based organisations; Promoting greater gender equality and children's rights to reduce cultural, social and stigma related limitations on their participation in economic activities; Promoting greater inclusion of children and child headed households in community activities;


  7. Physical Capital: Direct provision of physical assets or of services for maintaining assets; Lobbying for changes in inheritance laws to reduce asset losses following death of an adult male or both parents; or lobbying for greater respect for and enforcement of existing laws;


  8. Regional Risk Coping and Reduction Measures: Early Warning systems for the "New variant famine" - strategies for monitoring, and quantifying the impact of HIV and AIDS on agriculture and food security, National Social Protection Agencies (NASPAs) coordinated at the regional level by SADC.
The discussions will be informed by the findings of a seven-country study (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) on the impact of the HIV and AIDS pandemic on household agriculture and food security -that has been conducted by FANRPAN over the last two years (2004-05). The dialogue will take the form of a 3-day regional conference covering 3 of the above topics per day. It will bring together leading government policy makers on the subject, leading civil society practioners including associations of PLWAs, regional policy institutions, FANRPAN partner agencies, private sector and farmer organisations. A total of 30 delegates are targeted.

Motivation for the Concept

  1. Relevance to regional level priorities for poverty reduction

    Among the many explanations of why Southern Africans coped less effectively with the food crisis of 2001/02 than with the drought of 1991/92, is what has been described as the "lethal mix" (WFP, 2005) of three factors - HIV and AIDS, market liberalization, and governance failures. Seven countries - Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe are reported to have adult HIV prevalence of more than 30 percent. In these most highly affected countries, slow growth in agricultural productivity and the overall economy resulted in growing food insecurity over the last two decades. In 2005, the HIV and AIDS pandemic was named as a contributing factor in declaring a state of food emergency in Lesotho and Swaziland - but the disease is heavily affecting the entire sub-region. Unlike in the case of drought, famine and floods, the impact of HIV and AIDS on agriculture and food security is gradual and not easily visible or quantifiable to attract crisis-type emergency intervention and aid.

    The dialogue is aimed at a deeper understanding of the impact dynamics of the pandemic on the sector that is believed to be the main engine for tackling poverty and food insecurity. The proposed dialogue will be informed by results and findings from a 7-country (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) study on the impact of HIV and AIDS on agriculture and food security that was conducted by FANRPAN over the last two years (2004-05). The study was set within the context of development, in which agriculture is only one part of a complex and inter-related sectoral relationship, such that any successful attempt to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on agriculture would have to bring into the play all the sectors on which the entire livelihood of the people is based.

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