Despite Ugandaâ€™s efforts to reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence in the last 10 years, and the introduction of anti-retroviral drugs on the market, it still remains a threat to the agricultural sector, agriculture minister Kisamba Mugerwa said yesterday,
He called for a revised approach to the HIV/AIDS epidemic to help avert its disproportionate impact on agriculture.
Kisamba said the disease was greatly affecting a sector regarded as Ugandaâ€™s economic backbone.
He was speaking yesterday at a forum to debate results of Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries HIV/AIDS impact assessment study on food and rural livelihood at Hotel Africana in Kampala
â€œHIV is no longer only a health crisis as was perceived at its advent, but a cross-sectoral issue that affects the interdependence of production systems and erodes their capacity and ability to function adequately,â€ he said.
The Norwegian government funded the study by the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
Kisamba said the close linkage of the disease to poverty, poor nutrition and household food and livelihood insecurity is directly undermining governmentâ€™s efforts in realising economic empowerment among the rural people.
â€œWhile poverty has long existed in Uganda, it is clear that diseases, including HIV/AIDS, have aggravated this poverty by contributing to decreased agricultural productivity and increased household food insecurity,â€ he added.
The Ministry of Health HIV/AIDS surveillance report 2001, says the prevalence rate has dropped from 25 percent to 6.1 since the disease was first reported in the eighties.
Kisamba said the adverse effect of the disease was a result of the subsistance and small- holder farming methods that relied on family labour. He said increased morbidity threatened productivity.
HIV/AIDS Impact On Agric Worries Kisamba