decreasing supply resulting from the HIV/AIDS epidemic must be studied as the disease progresses.
Other Sectors For most other economic sectors, both demand and supply are expected to decrease as a result of the epidemic; furthermore, the slow nature of the epidemic will allow time for those sectors to adjust. The direct impacts of HIV/AIDS in most economic sectors may therefore be difficult to detect.
The Agricultural Sector Agriculture constitutes the primary economic sector of most of the African countries severely affected by the epidemic, employing a large percentage of the labor force and accounting for a major portion of gross domestic product and export earnings. For example, three of the sub-Saharan African countries hardest hit by the epidemic—Kenya, Tanzania, and Côte d'Ivoire—depend on agricultural products for over 70 percent of their exports; in four of the other most severely affected countries—Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, and Uganda—that figure is over 90 percent (World Bank, 1992b). The effects of HIV/AIDS on the agricultural sector are therefore likely to reverberate throughout the national economy of these countries. As the epidemic progresses, agriculture, like most economic sectors in Africa, will be forced to adjust in some way to both the decrease in adult labor and the decrease in national demand.
Although there has been a great deal of conjecture about the impact of AIDS on the agricultural sector, the analyses to date have generally focused on the impact of an adult death on a given agricultural household; they ignore the possibility that a neighboring household that has not suffered an adult death can use the land that the affected household may not be able to use. In rural areas, where the vast majority of the labor force is engaged in subsistence farming and where migration to the city has already reduced the number of people of prime working age, the additional burden of AIDS-related morbidity and mortality may be significant. To the extent that agricultural labor is already fully employed, AIDS can be expected to result in declining agricultural production relative to predictions without AIDS. Yet analyses of the epidemic's impact on agriculture have also paid scant attention to the reduction in demand for food crops, especially from the urban sector. Insofar as AIDS-related deaths decrease national demand for agricultural products relative to a no-AIDS scenario—as indeed they must—the effects of a decrease in production may be mitigated. Data are not yet available to clarify the net result, although the loss of the main food-producing age group suggests that there will be a food deficit in the affected areas.
The ultimate impact of AIDS on production and exports will depend most heavily on how households respond to the crisis. Households continue to constitute the major agricultural production units in sub-Saharan Africa; their decision making about crop selection and labor inputs will shape the availability and prices of both domestic foodstuffs and exports. Some subsistence crops, such as maize, sweet potatoes, and cassava, are substantially less labor-intensive than