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Socio-economic impacts of HIV and AIDS on rural agricultural producers in three regions of Northern Namibia: a preliminary report

Ben Fuller, Deon van Zyl


March 2005

This draft report has been published with the permission of the authors.
Comments on the draft report can be sent to:
More details on Nepru's research can be obtained from:
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This project came about from a request by the Food and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) to investigate the impacts of the HIV and AIDS pandemic on rural agricultural producers. The intended aim of the study was to conduct a national level survey. A study of this scope presents a number of challenges. Foremost is the issue of representation. Here it is necessary to first ensure that enough households that are affected by the pandemic are interviewed so as to ensure a reasonable sample. A second factor is to ensure that enough households from the general population are interviewed so as to ensure a sound basis for comparison. In Namibia, with its diverse, small and population scattered over a large area, meeting these challenges is costly. A second challenge is the identification of people who are HIV positive or ill with AIDS. Namibia has legal and social barriers to easily obtaining this information.

At the time of the request by FANRPAN, the Namibian government was engaged in the 2003/2004 National Household and Income Survey (NHIES 03/04). This survey provides national benchmarks in areas such as income and expenditure, poverty measures, income distribution, consumption patterns and the like. Permissions was obtained to use the basic survey instrument from the NHIES 03/04 for this survey.1 Doing so allowed for a more robust comparison of the results against national and regional samples.

With one problem solved came the next issue of identifying households that were affected by HIV and AIDS. To address this issue, HIV and AIDS support groups were approached and their cooperation sought in obtaining access to their clients. Using established mechanisms was seen as crucial to the the efficient identification of HIV and AIDS affected households as well as a means of establishing trust with affected families and thus a means of increasing the sample size.

Unfortunately, resources provided by FANRPAN were insufficient, even after the above issues were resolved. The decision was made to seek co-funding. Futures Group expressed interest in, and ultimately provided additional monies for the project. Still, in the absence of sufficient funding, a true National level survey is not possible.

This study

The research carried out here focused on three of Namibia's political regions, the Kavango, Oshana and Oshikoto Regions. These are characterized by high rates of HIV infection, large numbers of people involved in agricultural production, and together with the Ohangwena and Omusati Regions, are home to almost 70% of Namibia's population.

It was hoped that the data presented here could be compared with the NHIES 03/04. Thus, providing a complete picture of the economic situation of households in our sample. That document while originally due in late 2004, is not yet completed, and may only be available later in the year. Hence, for this effort, data from the survey is presented, with the caveat that once the NHIES is published this report will be updated. Where possible, data from other sources, notably the 2001 Population and Housing Census, are used for comparative purposes.


Due to the preliminarily nature of this effort, the paper follows a rudimentary organization. The bulk of what follows is a basic listing of results. Very little in the way of analysis is contained in this document. The authors wait for an indication of how the new survey will use its data so ours can be presented in a similar manner.


  1. Modifications were made to the questionnaire to protect the privacy of interviewees.

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