Impact of the Ebola virus disease outbreak on market chains and trade of agricultural products in West Africa

Impact of the Ebola virus disease outbreak on market chains and trade of agricultural products in West Africa
Jun 2016

This new FAO publication brings an innovative contribution to the existing research work on Ebola. At its height, the outbreak led to border closures, quarantines and other restriction measures which seriously disrupted the marketing of goods including of agricultural commodities.

This study provides an analysis of the impact of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak on agricultural market chains. Seven market chains were selected based on their importance to regional food security, the risks associated with Ebola and the extent of disruptions caused by the outbreak. This includes rice, cassava, potatoes, cocoa, palm oil animal products, bushmeat and cocoa in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Recommendations to ensure the smooth functioning of trade flows and markets when facing a crisis, while minimizing the risk of disease spread, are also included.

At a critical time when the epidemic is in recession, this study lays the foundations for integrated recovery frameworks at the local, regional and international levels. ‘Improved preparedness and response to epidemics implies an in-depth understanding of the factors leading to public health emergencies of this magnitude.’ said Vincent Martin, FAO Representative in Senegal and Head of FAO’s sub-regional Resilience Team for West Africa.

Using a multidisciplinary approach, this report builds on consultations with experts in food security, disaster risk reduction, animal and public health, epidemiology, anthropology as well as actors chains agricultural value of the affected countries. It will also guide future studies aimed to design concrete measures to maintain the functioning of food systems when transboundary risks occur, and to better understand the underlying causes of emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola.