Effects of HIV/AIDS on the livelihood of banana-farming households in Central Kenya

F.N. Nguthi, A. Niehof

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This paper explores the effects of HIV/AIDS on the livelihoods of banana-farming households in Maragua district, Central Kenya. It is based on the results of a field study carried out during 2004-2005. The study applied the sustainable livelihood approach, using both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. A survey was conducted among 254 farming households: 75 HIV/AIDS-affected households and 179 non-affected households. It was found that the people attribute the spread of HIV/AIDS in the area to rural-urban migration and hopelessness and despair due to lack of employment, especially among the youth, HIV/AIDS-affected households are mostly female-headed, have a significantly higher dependency ratio and experience labour shortage despite their larger size. A significant number of affected households have stopped growing labour-intensive cash crops and shifted to producing food crops. Management in banana farming has declined among these households. Affected households do not sell land to cater for household needs such as medical expenses and school fees, but use their savings or sell livestock instead. Additionally, leasing land and migration are important livelihood strategies of HIV/AIDS-affected households. Altogether the picture of HIV/AIDS effects on the livelihoods of banana-farming households is one of mixed evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-190
JournalNJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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