Food Coalition

Boosting the resilience of smallholders for COVID-19 recovery

COVID-19 will result in the worst recession globally in a century and in particular for the Latin America and the Caribbean. It will have dramatic socio-economic and environmental consequences, with a projected increase of 28 million people in extreme poverty (reaching a total of 96 million or 14.9 percent of the region’s total population) and 45 million people in poverty (for a total of 230 million or 35.6 percent). After decades of significant reduction, in recent years hunger has been on the rise in Latin America and the Caribbean, with 187 million food-insecure people and 47.7 million undernourished people in 2019. FAO estimates that an additional up to 20 million people could fall into food insecurity because of the COVID-19 crisis in the region.

Before the COVID outbreak in the region, 40 percent of the population was not covered by any type of social protection. The closure of schools and the suspension of the school feeding are also impacting the most vulnerable families and also reduce the incomes of smallholder farmers who participate in the school feeding supply chain.

The COVID crisis has highlighted the critical need to boost the resilience of smallholders against multiple interconnected, cascading and mutually aggravating risks (pandemics, climate change and extreme events, plant pests and animal diseases, and socioeconomic crises). Comprehensive multi-risk management approaches across the food and agriculture systems are therefore necessary to improve livelihoods resilience, including stepping in early to take action, to mitigate the impact of disasters as well as the cost of emergency response and reconstruction.

The countries of the Central America Dry Corridor – Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador are among those experiencing major food crises in Latin America and the Caribbean, and are thus most vulnerable to COVID-19 and other interconnected threats. According to recent data collected until February 2020, more than 600,000 people were food insecure in El Salvador. The last projected Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analysis (April–July 2020), carried out in Guatemala before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, foresaw 1.32 million people (19 percent of the analysed population) in IPC Phase 3 (crisis) or above.

In Honduras, 1.65 million people (32 percent of the analysed population) were in need of urgent action (IPC Phase 3 or above), according to the last IPC analysis carried out in July 2020. Declining remittances and movement restrictions are likely to result in increasing negative coping strategies, which are likely to affect the food security and nutrition situation.

Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are also particularly vulnerable due to their high dependence on tourism and food imports and are disproportionately affected by natural hazards – notably the hurricane season - and external shocks. Smallholder farmers and producers have experienced reduced markets due to the closure of many hotels and restaurants linked to the global collapse of the tourism industry.

In the Andean countries, especially Ecuador, Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia, there is a marked duality of agricultural systems, with a large presence of peasant and indigenous family agriculture. Due to its geography, connectivity is limited, which represents a risk for the food supply chain and a challenge to connect family farmers to the markets. Venezuelan migrant populations in Ecuador and Peru are also facing serious

Priority Areas of work: Boosting Smallholder Resilience for Recovery
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 5. Gender Equality, 13. Climate Action
Level: Regional
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Country: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States Minor Outlying Islands
Budget: USD 60 million


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