Farm workers have been caught in the web of the HIV-AIDS epidemic, and widespread poverty and food insecurity have exacerbated its effects. A systematic response is needed to the increase in numbers of people with AIDS-related illnesses and the growing number of AIDS orphans. Programmes such as the Farm Orphans Support Trust (FOST) have developed some experience in promoting community-based care of orphans over the years. This experience should be closely studied for wider lessons, and expanded to cater for the greater number of orphans on farms and in informal settlements. The food, health and education needs of orphans should be treated as a high priority.