Agricultural manpower loss from AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is being documented in Rwanda, Tanzania and Malawi. In an AIDS-afflicted area of Uganda, one-quarter of families studied had reduced land utilization, crop and livestock production. Reductions were attributed to AIDS mortality and morbidity in 8% of the households. Consequences include increased food insecurity and crisis, and reduced flexibility of response and investment in agro-inputs. AIDS mortality and morbidity will vary microgeographically. Its impact will be most severe in marginal agricultural and ecological zones. Policy makers need to reconsider strategies, to develop planning and monitoring systems, and to encourage programmes to increase labour effectiveness.