Impact of AIDS on rural livelihoods in Benue State, Nigeria: Implications for policymakers


T. Hilhorst, M. J. van Liere, K. de Koning

Nigeria is in the grip of a growing HIV/AIDS epidemic with Benue State recording one of the highest State level infection rates: 13.5% in 2001, which will have a devastating impact on individual lives and livelihoods.

HIV/AIDS is not the only crisis that rural people have to deal with. The downturn in the Nigerian economy is also hitting Benue State. Public investment in infrastructure, water, health, and education facilities is limited, resulting in poor basic service delivery. The economy in Benue mostly depends on agriculture, spin-off activities such as processing, trading and casual labour, and migration. Farming is under stress due to worsening terms of trade, and input markets that are not functioning well. Over the past decade, farming has actually become more labour-intensive per unit of harvest, a development that increases the vulnerability to shocks