AfDB Unveils Strategic Roadmap for Food Security against COVID-19

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An AfDB report says the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened volatility in the price of food staples and complicated food system actors’ investment decision-making.

A report released alongside the roadmap recommends immediate, short- and medium-term solutions for the agriculture sector

The African Development Bank has unveiled a strategic roadmap of projects and programs to assist African countries in tackling the nutrition and food security aspects of the COVID-19 crisis through a raft of immediate and longer-term measures.

According to an AfDB release, the Feed Africa Response to COVID-19 (FAREC) paves the way for a comprehensive intervention to build resilience, sustainability and regional self-sufficiency in Africa’s food systems and help farmers cope with coronavirus-related disruptions to the agricultural value chain.

“The Bank’s response to support the agriculture sector lays out specific measures aimed at addressing challenges faced by African countries across all aspects of the agriculture sector. Africa cannot afford a food crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Jennifer Blanke, the Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.

A report released alongside the roadmap recommends immediate, short- and medium-term solutions for the agriculture sector including; support of food delivery for the most vulnerable; stabilization of food prices; optimization of food processing; extension support services, and provision of key agricultural inputs through smart subsidies.

Africa cannot afford a food crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Jennifer Blanke, AfDB’s VP for Agriculture, Human and Social Development

According to the report, the Bank will prioritize policy support to enhance movement of inputs and food, to establish food security task forces in countries, and to strengthen the capacity of regional organizations to monitor multi-country initiatives.

The pandemic has worsened volatility in the price of food staples and complicated food system actors’ investment decision-making. The confluence of impacts risks deepening food insecurity and malnutrition. According to the World Food Program, over 40 million West Africans face food shortages in the coming months.

FAREC forms one part of the Bank’s COVID-19 Response Facility (CRF) of up to US$10 billion. The CRF is the Bank’s primary channel to deploy financial and technical measures to cushion African economies and livelihoods against the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

In May, the Bank’s African Development Institute, its focal point for capacity development, hosted a seminar that examined the pandemic’s impacts on Africa’s agri-food systems and offered  policy recommendations to make them more resilient and efficient.

“Ensuring food security for Africans in all situations is at the core of the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy. Our institution will coordinate its efforts with different stakeholders across the continent to effectively answer the needs of regional member countries,” said Dr. Martin Fregene, Director of the Bank’s Agriculture and Agro-industry Department.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Both lives and livelihoods are at risk from this pandemic.

    Though in some countries the spread of the pandemic has been slowing down and cases are decreasing, in others, COVID-19 is resurging or continuing to spread quickly. This is still a global problem calling for a global response.

    We know that it will eventually retreat, but we don’t know how fast this will happen. We also know that this shock is somewhat unusual as it affects significant elements of both food supply and demand.

  2. Food demand is generally inelastic and its effect on overall consumption will be likely limited, although dietary patterns may alter. There is a possibility of a disproportionately larger decline in animal protein consumption (as a result of fears – not science-based – that animals might be hosts of the virus, and other higher-valued products like fish, fruits and vegetables (which are likely to cause price slumps). These fears can be particularly true for raw fish products supplied to restaurants and hotels, including small and medium enterprises.

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