Agriculture productivity in COMESA region under threat of AIDS pandemic, expert laments
Agricultural productivity in the Common Market for East and Central Africa (COMESA) region is now more than ever threatened with the HIV/AIDS pandemic, with agricultural productivity reducing by15 percent in the past two years, delegates drawn from the COMESA region were told here on Monday.
The director for investment promotion and private sector development at COMESA, Chungu Mwila told a COMESA meeting on HIV/AIDS meeting in Nairobi that the infection in the region is very high and the labor force of the 400 million people in the region is currently being “wiped out” by the scourge.
He said that urgent action was needed to reverse the situation charging that that HIV/AIDS prevention should be at the main agenda of COMESA.
“Frequent illness by workers is affecting productivity seriously with production not as it should be”, he remarked.
He added that member states should form joint programmes to offer basic practices to combat HIV/AIDS.
The conference was told that AIDS has killed around 7 million agricultural workers since 1985 in the 25 hardest-hit countries in Africa and would kill 16 million more before 2020.