Silently starving: A new form of famine among small scale farming households affected by the HIV Epidemic?
The HIV and AIDS epidemic has a negative impact on food security among small scale farmers in Namibia's communal areas. If the findings presented here prove to be widespread, the threat to food security demands immediate attention from all sectors of Namibian society. HIV affected households were sampled in three Regions of Northern Namibia. A total of 144 households were surveyed during November 2004. The survey took place in three Regions in Northern Namibia, the Kavango, Oshana and Oshikoto Regions. Of those households, almost nine out of ten were determined to be food insecure. They had neither adequate formal or informal income to purchase sufficient food, nor did they produce enough staple crops to meed basic nutritional requirements throughout the year. Eleven households did not produce any crops at all in 2004. Using livestock as compensation for the crop deficit is not an option as only half of food insecure households had animals. The majority of stock owning households, however, did not possess herds large enough to allow regular off-take.