COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts on Agricultural Value Chain

COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts on Agricultural Value Chain

This is a brief recap of the online conference hosted by Agricincome Hub on COVID-19 Pandemic: Impacts on Agricultural Value Chain.
Agriculture is a key priority sector in Africa, employing 60% of the population. In Africa, 80% of the food production comes from small-scale farmers who reside in remote communities.
Already over 250 million people in Africa are without food. And on the current global shock of coronavirus, let me re-establish that:
– Most African countries have imposed some degree of restrictions to protect the populations from the spread of the virus.
– According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Africa’s GDP growth is expected to drop from 3.2% to 1.8% which will likely increase the number of people without food in Africa.

AGRA Alliance said; “We all need to consider the very real danger that the COVID-19 pandemic will leave in its wake a food security crisis that could affect the political, social and economic health of African countries. These vulnerable populations will suffer more from both the short- and long-term effects of the pandemic”.
Hence, it is no doubt the food systems and agriculture will be greatly impacted by the COVID19 pandemic. Let examine these 6 points – they are really exciting!
Food production
On the coronavirus impact, given the restrictions of movement, travels due to the lockdown, many farmers can’t go to their farms and even if they do, they are faced with the fear of harassment, market closure, and fears based on discouragement to increase acreage.
Food and input Logistics
Food and input logistics are very essential to ensure the functionality of agriculture.
There is a linkage between ‘food production’ and ‘Market’ – the linkage is ‘Logistics’.
The truth is food movement and input logistics will be affected and this alone will affect all the points from the first to the last. Although a few logistics companies are trying to deploy strategies to tackle this menace caused by the coronavirus on food movement and input logistics, and, we are in a very large country with few service providers such as the logistics industry.
Market: Informal and formal
This is just an insight that a lot of things will be affected from the market end, especially in terms of food perishability for either fast- or slow-moving food items.
Trade: national, regional and international
Just like the market, Africa trades among themselves and we also trade with other continents like Europe, America, Asia etc. – hence the need for Africa free trade zone
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Impacts on Agricultural Value Chain is affecting or limiting trade of food items between nations and regions of the world. For instance, Kenya is losing a lot of money because the country cannot send its horticultural product to Europe as Europe is currently on lockdown, so nobody to buy flowers – Horticultural farmers are really losing out.
The point is, trade flow will be disrupted and when the pandemic is over, demand from different countries and even nations will be high, putting pressure on farmers.
Social-economic livelihood
The social-economic livelihood of many people will be affected starting from:
Smallholder farmers that can’t go out to produce nor sell and if selling, doing so for survival or to avoid post-harvest loss, to Logistic and input suppliers, Market women, especially the informal market players, Food cargo operators, Agricultural consultants, Every agricultural value chain players and ultimately, the consumer whose food and nutrition security, as well as spending, will be affected.
COVID19 Benefits: Agriculture at the receiving end
The most exciting fact is that after all these global COVID19 pandemic is over, food production and consumption will still continue, agriculture will gain more attention, food systems and agriculture will be transformed, policies will be directed at addressing any likelihood of shocks on food security and food crisis, international organizations and institutions will roll-out more agricultural programs to support farmer and sustainable agricultural activities. Also, innovation will be geared towards e-marketing, food and input logistics and ultimately, food storage and processing. One last point is that food demand will be higher than supply and for those that can aggregate for small-scale farmers, that’s an opportunity to grab.
To download the full seminar in PDF Version click here

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COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts on Agricultural Value Chain

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