Cultivated Land Disappears in AIDS-Ravaged Africa

Patricia Reaney, Reuters, Sept. 8

DUBLIN—HIV/AIDS has decimated Africa’s farming communities so badly that the amount of cultivated land in some countries has declined by nearly 70 percent, researchers said on Thursday.

About 80 percent of Africans derive their living from agriculture but the illness, which has infected more than 25 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, has left fewer and fewer people able to till the soil.

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In areas of Kenya there has been a 68 percent reduction in cultivated land and a decline in cash crops such as coffee, tea and sugar, according to SWIHA.

Some parts of Rwanda have experienced drops in the farm labour force of 60-80 percent because of sickness and deaths from the illness, while in Malawi 70 percent of households suffered labour shortages following the death of a male.

In Burkina Faso 20 percent of rural families cut agricultural work or gave up farming because of HIV/AIDS.

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