The linkages between agriculture and malaria

Issues for policy, research, and capacity strengthening

Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, Felix Ankomah Asante, Jifar Tarekegn, Kwaw S. Andam
ifpri discussion paper

"Malaria afflicts many people in the developing world, and due to its direct and indirect costs it has widespread impacts on growth and development. The global impact of malaria on human health, productivity, and general well-being is profound. Human activity, including agriculture, has been recognized as one of the reasons for the increased intensity of malaria around the world, because it supports the breeding of mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite. Malaria can cause illness (morbidity), disability, or death; and all three effects have direct and indirect costs that can affect productivity. Since agriculture is the main activity of rural people in many endemic areas, it has been suggested that effective malaria control measures can be devised if attention was paid to the two-way effects of agriculture and malaria. There is the need to compute the direct costs of malaria treatment and control and the impacts of those costs on the ability of farm households to adopt new agricultural technology and improved practices, and keep farm and household assets. It is equally important to know the indirect costs of seeking health care and taking care of children and others who are afflicted by malaria and the relationship of the indirect costs to the farm labor supply and productivity. On the other hand, many agricultural activities like irrigation projects, water-harvesting and storage, land and soil management techniques, and farm work sequencing can lead to increase in mosquito populations and therefore increase the incidence of malaria in agricultural regions. This paper has raised issues on the two-way effects of agriculture and malaria and recommended areas that require policy actions and further research. The research findings can then be used in devising effective policies for controlling malaria in endemic areas of the world and assist in preparing a tool kit for capacity development on agriculture and malaria." --from authors' abstract