About 20% of Southern African Farm Workers Will Die of AIDS-Related Causes by 2020, Researchers Say
April 15, 2005
About 20% of Southern African agricultural workers are expected to die of AIDS-related causes by 2020, which could threaten food production and worsen food shortages, researchers said on Thursday at a World Health Organization meeting on nutrition and HIV/AIDS in Durban, South Africa, Reuters reports. However, the region's high unemployment rate could mean that a reduction in the work force would not affect production. "It's not as simple as to say that there will be a one-fifth reduction of the crop," Smangaliso Hllengwa, an HIV/AIDS expert and adviser to the New Partnership for Africa's Development, said, adding, "But it's obviously going to have a significant impact." Farmers in South Africa -- which is the region's largest food producer -- say they have lost about 20% of their workers over the last five years, but production in the country has remained unchanged because work is "much sought after," according to Reuters. However, experts say that the the loss of income among families of agricultural workers who die could be "devastating," according to Reuters (Apps, Reuters, 4/14).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.