Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Policy briefs

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting not only food trade, food supply chains and markets but also people’s lives, livelihoods and nutrition.

This collection of policy briefs presents a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the pandemic’s impacts on these areas.

Briefs are released on a day-to-day basis. Please check back frequently for the latest available briefs.

For media queries on any of the below topics, please contact [email protected]

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COVID-19 crisis and support for agrifood: Public sector responses through the financial sector

This policy brief aims to provide useful information for policymakers and other stakeholders in developing countries who are in the process of designing COVID-19 response programmes addressing the needs of agrifood and rural sectors through dedicated rural finance instruments and broader financial sector involvement. The brief discusses emerging patterns on how countries are currently responding to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. It looks at a number of innovations, good practices and policy options that emerge as most relevant for developing country contexts.

Contact person: Azeta Cungu, FAO Policy Support Economist

Responding to COVID-19 food disruptions in Africa

This situation report is a consolidation of information on food system disruptions in Africa due to COVID-19 for the period of 1–15 July 2020. As a collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the University of Minnesota – Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative, the information in this report is collected by scanning and analyzing public, open-source information.

Food system policy priorities and programmatic actions for healthy diets in the context of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created supply and demand shocks in the food systems, disproportionately affecting the poor and nutritionally vulnerable groups. A possible economic slowdown further compounds challenges faced by governments in tackling malnutrition in all its forms.
This brief presents policy and programmatic actions adopted by countries and development partners to ensure that food and agriculture responses promote healthy diets and improve nutrition. Furthermore, this brief explains supply and demand measures, taken from recent worldwide good practices.

Contact persons: Patrizia Fracassi, Senior Nutrition and Food System Officer and Ahmed Raza, Nutrition and Food System Officer

Africa’s youth in agrifood systems: Innovation in the context of COVID-19

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, young entrepreneurs in agrifood systems in sub-Saharan Africa were already facing a number of challenges. The main challenges include limited access to natural resources, finance, technology, knowledge and information, and insufficient participation in policy dialogues and other decision-making processes.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its disruptions to agricultural value chains are presenting additional hurdles for these agripreneurs. Without focused and appropriately designed response interventions addressing their specific constraints and contexts, it is increasingly observed that some of the policy responses and measures put in place by governments to halt the spread of the virus are exacerbating the existing challenges that the youth are facing in engaging in agrifood systems.

For example, several formal and informal micro, small and medium-sized agribusinesses that employ many young people, have been forced to close or downscale significantly as a result of lockdowns and movement restrictions at national and local levels.

FAO, together with other members of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD), has called for effective and safe partnerships with young people during and after the COVID-19 crisis to ensure that government and development partners’ response measures are inclusive of youth’s needs.

Contact person: Melisa Aytekin, FAO Policy Officer for Africa

Impact of COVID-19 on agriculture, food systems and rural livelihoods in Eastern Africa

The FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa is a technical hub which supports nine countries in Eastern Africa: Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. It has a core team of professionals with multidisciplinary expertise. It is responsible for developing, promoting, overseeing and implementing agreed strategies for addressing subregional food security, nutrition, agriculture and rural development priorities.

COVID-19 hit the Eastern Africa subregion at a particularly critical time when the economies of a number of countries in the subregion were recovering from the impacts of recent droughts and severe flooding and dealing with the worst desert locust invasion in 25 years. In addition, conflict- and climate-induced displacements are prominent in the subregion, with more than 7 million displaced people in camps or settlement situations in only four countries (1.78 million in Ethiopia, 1.67 million in South Sudan, 2.65 million in Somalia and 1.43 million in Uganda). The cumulative effect of these shocks has eroded the resilience of large segments of the population and strained governments and humanitarian agencies (UNHCR, 2020).

Contact person: Nomathemba Mhlanga, SFE Agribuisness Officer

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