The HIV/AIDS pandemic and changing climate patterns in southern Africa are expected to alter cropping patterns in the region. In this research, an attempt is made to measure and compare the effects of HIV/AIDS and drought on cropping patterns using econometric models and time series data. The research focused on Zambia as a case study and used data taken from 1961 - 2007. The study’s results indicated that while the effect of HIV/AIDS was statistically significant in explaining changes in cropland allocations for both cassava and maize, the effect of drought was only significant in explaining changes in cassava’s cropland allocations. They showed that although the absolute effect of drought on cropping pattern changes was higher in both crops, HIV/AIDS presented a stronger explanatory power. Based on these results, it is recommended that the pursuit of drought-tolerant technologies must continue in countries depending on rain-fed agriculture technologies for their food supply. However, because of the labor supply risk posed by HIV/AIDS to agricultural production, it is important that governments develop partnerships with non-governmental organizations, corporations and foreign governments to help control its spread, reduce the prevalence rate and secure effective therapeutic solutions for infected rural populations.
Key words: HIV/AIDS, crop patterns, drought, food security, cassava, maize.
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