An empirical study was conducted to explore differences and similarities in biodiversity in subsistence and commercial home gardens of HIV-positive and HIV-negative rural households in the Eastern Region of Ghana and their significance inhousehold food security. Data were obtained through a household and home garden survey of a purposive sample of 32 HIV-positive and a random sample of 48 HIV-negative rural households and through in-depth interviews. A higher proportion of species common to all four home garden types consisted of food crops: vegetables, staples and fruits. In HIV-positive households, commercial home gardens were significantly larger, had significantly more species and individual plants, more perennial food crops and more species that were harvested all year round and evenness was lower, but there was no significant difference in species diversity compared with subsistence home gardens. Significantly, more HIV-positive and HIV-negative households with a commercial home garden consumed a staple crop cultivated in the home garden in the 24-h period prior to the survey than HIV-positive households with subsistence home gardens. Rural households with HIV that manage commercial home gardens cultivate a dual purpose home garden which supplies subsistence food and also provides cash income; such households may have better food security than households that cultivate subsistence home gardens.
Key words: Shannon-Wiener index, dual purpose, home garden biodiversity, evenness.
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