Portail de l'appui aux politiques et de la gouvernance

Issue paper

COVID-19 and the impact on food security in the Near East and North Africa: How to respond?

Since the declaration by WHO of the COVID-19 as a Global Pandemic on 15 March, governments of the Near East and North Africa region have imposed a series of measures to slow down the spread of the disease. This policy brief aims at summarizing the potential impacts of COVID-19 and associated measures on agriculture and food security in the region and proposes measures to mitigate the impacts on food security and nutrition with special attention to the most vulnerable segments of societies.

Ample food supplies exist globally despite COVID-19’s impacts. COVID-19 has considerably disrupted the world supply chains around the world and raised the spectre of food unavailability. Despite these worries, global cereal markets are expected to remain balanced and comfortable. While localized disruptions, largely due to logistical issues, pose challenges to food supply chains in some markets, their anticipated duration and magnitude are unlikely to have a significant effect on global food markets, at least in the medium term.

Food supplies and reserves are satisfactory in most countries in the NENA region, but worries remain for countries affected by conflicts and instability. The situation of food availability in the NENA region is generally in line with global level, with cereals reserves at a satisfactory level in most countries, despite the region is highly dependent on cereal imports and therefore vulnerable to global markets disruption. Prospects for cereal production in 2020 are generally good, with the exception of the Maghreb where drought and above-average temperatures have impacted cereal production.