Early Impact of COVID-19 on Food Systems: A Rapid Assessment

Early Impact of COVID-19 on Food Systems: A Rapid Assessment

In April 2020, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) conducted a rapid assessment to understand early impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on food systems in a set of low- and middle-income countries where GAIN works (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Nigeria).

A particular focus was placed on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the food system. This report follows on and updates a situation report undertaken on approximately 3 April 2020. The study relied heavily on personal experience and perceptions. The study found as follows.

  • Based on a rapid assessment involving key informants, SME owners, and data from secondary sources, COVID-19-related control measures (such as movement restrictions and business closings) are having an impact on food systems in the 10 countries studied in the report.
  • Some food price increases and disruptions to food availability are reported, particularly for imported foods and perishable fruits and vegetables.
  • Food system SMEs are facing considerable challenges with transporting goods, acquiring inputs and equipment, and ensuring workforce continuity; some have also seen decreases in demand.
  • Some SMEs and business leaders also see opportunities in the pandemic, such as through new distribution models and import substitution.
  • The situation is changing rapidly and varies widely across (and likely within) countries.
  • Several governments have acted to support low-income consumers as well as business owners.

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GAIN. 2020. Impact of COVID-19 on Food Systems: A Situation Report, Edition 2. April 22, 2020.