Giving Compass' Take:

• Disruptions due to COVID-19, such as border closures, lockdowns, and curfews, could have severe economic impacts on agricultural production and food security in Africa. 

• How can funders help respond to food emergencies caused by COVID-19 across the globe? 

• Read about other ways that COVID-19 is bringing about food insecurity. 

Even before the global COVID-19 pandemic broke out, food insecurity was a serious concern throughout sub-Saharan Africa. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 239 million people in the region were undernourished as of 2018.

This year, an unprecedented locust outbreak that’s ravaging parts of the Horn of Africa could result in $8.5 billion in crop and livestock losses, severely reduced harvests, and less food in markets. Climate shocks, which have been increasing in number and severity in recent years, could also hurt agricultural production. These multiple crises, unfolding at the same time, threaten to swell the ranks of Africa’s hungry and vulnerable people. Refugees, internally displaced people, and people living in areas marked by conflict and fragility like the Sahel are especially at risk.

Now, COVID-19 poses challenges on top of this picture of risk and vulnerability.

For starters, border closures, lockdowns, and curfews intended to slow the spread of the disease are disrupting supply chains that, even under normal circumstances, struggle to keep markets well stocked and farmers supplied with necessary agricultural and livestock inputs such as quality seeds, fertilizer, and feeds. These disruptions could have a much larger economic impact in Africa—where farming accounts for about 60 percent of total employment—than in other regions of the world. In fact, agricultural production in Africa could contract between 2.6 and 7 percent if trade blockages persist.

Read the full article about food security in Africa by Simeon Ehui at Brookings.