HIV/AIDS and Agrarian Livelihoods in Zambia: a Test of the New Variant Famine Hypothesis.

1. Consistent with the New Variant Famine (NVF) hypothesis, the negative impact of drought on crop output and output per hectare is further exacerbated where HIV prevalence rates are relatively high, particularly in the low- and medium rainfall zones of the country (agro-ecological regions I and II). 2. HIV prevalence rates and AIDS-related mortality rates in Zambia are highest in the lowest rainfall and most drought-prone zone of the country (agro-ecological region I). 3. Only for districts in agro-ecological region I do we find evidence of a robust negative effect of HIV/AIDS on agrarian livelihood indicators. Relatively stable food production zones and/or areas with relatively low HIV prevalence rates appear to be less vulnerable to the adverse effects predicted by the NVF hypothesis, which suggests that HIV/AIDS exacerbates the effects of drought and other shocks on agrarian communities. 4. HIV/AIDS reduces the crop production gains associated with fertilizer subsidy increases in the highest rainfall areas. 5. Increases in the percentage of female-headed households in a district are related to declines in agricultural production indicators, but these effects do not appear to worsen when the HIV/AIDS epidemic is severe. 6. Only in districts whose borders encompass both agro-ecological regions II and III do we consistently find weak evidence that HIV/AIDS reduces the contribution of productive assets to crop output and output per unit of land as would be expected under the NVF hypothesis.

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Food Security Research Project- Zambia, Policy Synthesis

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-22

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