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 and indigenous peoples

There are 476 million indigenous peoples around the world, constituting 6.2 percent of the global population and, according to different sources, representing more than 19 percent of the extreme poor. Indigenous peoples are not a homogenous group. They live in over 90 countries, in rural and urban areas, in forests, savannahs, mountains, and along the coasts, in low, middle- and high-income countries. However, they all share a history of discrimination and marginalization that in the context of COVID-19 – once again – challenges their existence. This document provides a series of recommendations to governments on how to face COVID-19 impacts on indigenous peoples.

Contact person: Yon Fernández de Larrinoa, Head of the FAO Indigenous Peoples Unit (PSUI)

Farmers and agribusinesses at risk under COVID-19: What role for blended finance funds?

The COVID-19 pandemic is a major economic shock, throwing into question the resilience of the agrifood sector at this stage, particularly in developing countries where self-employed, wage and informal workers are threatened by food supply chain disruptions, limitations on movement and trade restrictions. Even before the crisis, small and medium agribusinesses were often considered to be credit-constrained and extremely vulnerable to shocks. Reaching out to this underserved segment has been one of the objectives driving the development of blended finance funds and facilities in the agrifood sector. While many operators will be focusing on managing their portfolio through these turbulent times, there is an opportunity to step up blended finance´s contribution to mitigate COVID-19 negative impacts and accelerate the recovery, including Build Back Better efforts. This brief looks at different options for blended finance in the short, mid and long term to help farmers and agribusinesses at risk under COVID-19.

Contact person: Nuno Santos, FAO Senior Economist

One Health legislation: Contributing to pandemic prevention through law

It is increasingly recognized that human, plant and animal health, environmental health and food security are inter-linked and that the degradation of ecological systems has significantly increased the overall risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks, in addition to having other complex effects on human health. The devastating human, social and economic effects of COVID-19 should force the global community to ensure prevention of another similar event.

The One Health approach provides a platform to work on the interface between human, animal and plant health and their shared environment. Working on the synergies among these areas is key to preventing the outbreak, or mitigating the impact of new diseases. Under a One health approach, economic development and agriculture production pay attention to the impact of anthropogenic activities on the environment, animal health and welfare. Attention is also paid to wild animals and fauna, the protection of forests and biodiversity and mitigation of climate change. A well preserved environment, together with healthy animals, plants and ecosystems are more resilient and better prepared to react against new pathogens or mitigate their impact.Legislation is a powerful means by which countries and regional organizations translate the One Health objectives into concrete, sustainable and enforceable rights, obligations and responsibilities, paving the way for inter-sectoral collaboration. Legislation forms the backbone of appropriate frameworks aimed at preventing the introduction and spread of pests and diseases. It can contain the key regulatory controls within a sector, establish linkages among the various areas relevant for One Health and facilitate a coordinated implementation by different authorities, all of which are important to achieving the goals of One Health.

Contact person: Blaise Kuemlangan, Chief LEGN


Migrant workers and remittances in the context of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa


African migrants stimulate economic growth and development in areas of destination, transit and origin through their labour, skills transfer, consumption and investments. Their remittances also make significant contributions to food security, human capital, rural development and overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in areas of origin. 

The impact of COVID-19 affects migrant workers disproportionally. Often precarious working conditions and overcrowded living and transport arrangements increase their vulnerability to contagion and loss of employment, threatening their health and livelihoods. Those working under informal arrangements, commonly in the agriculture sector, are largely excluded from accessing real-time reliable information, social protection, healthcare and government response measures.

Contact person: Melisa Aytekin, FAO Policy Officer for Africa

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and family farming

Family farmers, especially those operating at a small-scale level, are particularly exposed to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Temporary movement restrictions hinder their access to markets, and the perishable goods and small animals they mostly produce and keep are the most affected by being cut off from markets and slaughterhouses. Also, their access to markets can be undermined due to changes in consumers’ behaviors, the closure of farmer’s markets, and other commercialization channels such as schools and procurement opportunities. Family farmers lacking storage facilities face serious risks to lose their products.

Contact personGuilherme Brady, Chief, Family Farming and Partnerships with Civil Society and Cooperatives Unit (PSUF) of the Partnerships and UN Collaboration Division (PSU)

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