Low Agro Output Blamed On Aids
Times of Zambia (Ndola)
March 14, 2003
Posted to the web March 14, 2003
AGRICULTURE and Cooperatives Minister
Mundia Sikatana has attributed the low production levels in
agriculture to the effects of the deadly HIV/AIDS pandemic
which has ravaged the sector.
Mr Sikatana said this in Lusaka
yesterday during the official opening of a workshop on the
impact of HIV/AIDS on poverty, agricultural production, food
and nutrition among the rural households in Zambia.
He said the failure by the agricultural
sector in recent years to provide sustainable livelihood for
rural households was one of the major factors which had
contributed to rural poverty.
Mr Sikatana said the ministry had been
spending a lot of money on funerals most of them due to
HIV/AIDS when the money could have been channeled to other
developmental projects within the ministry.
He said poverty had continued to be
Zambia's major pressing challenges and the failure by the
sector to produce enough even to feed the rural community.
Mr Sikatana said the country had a
wealth of information on HIV/AIDS through scientific work but
so far efforts to combat the disease had so much focused on
its clinical and social dimensions.
"There has been less emphasis on
analysing the effects of the disease on the agricultural
sector and food production especially among the rural
population which has since seen a drop in production
levels," he said.
The minister said among other factors
that were compounding the current poverty levels in rural
Zambia were drought, floods, livestock disease and limited
access to yield enhancing inputs.
He said since Government had targeted
agriculture as the engine to generate economic growth this
could not be achieved if no mitigation measures were put in
place against HIV/AIDS especially in the rural sector for it
mighty threaten the success of Government's efforts to promote
He commended the Food and Agriculture
Organisation (FAO) for supporting Government's efforts in
poverty eradication by addressing the impact of the disease on
Meanwhile, the Society for Family Health
(SFFH) has recorded a significant decline in the proportion of
youths involving themselves in sexual activities resulting in
a drop in HIV/AIDS infections in the capital city.
SFFH executive director Nils Gade said
this during an information dissemination workshop on the
findings of new infections at Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka
Mr Gade said according to a survey
carried out in Lusaka last year, there was a significant
decline in regular and casual partners among the youth which
in turn reduced the infection rate.
He said analysis on behavioral data
showed that the intervention caused by postponement of on-set
of sexual activity among both female and male youths has
reduced the length of exposure to sexual risks.
He said the results were achieved
following wide dissemination of information through the media
targeted at youths aged between 13 and 24 years.