AGRA’s COVID-19 Response

In Africa, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated families and communities, and also proved extremely damaging to the continent’s economies and livelihoods. Economic growth in 2020 was -2.1%, the continent’s first recession in 50 years.

The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in countries affected farmers in various ways, with 70% of more than 6,000 farmers surveyed through AGRA’s rapid appraisals indicating inputs market prices were most affected.

AGRA invested more than USD11 million to mitigate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

In 2020, African governments made all efforts to ensure food security in the midst of the crisis. In Kenya, for example, the Ministry of Agriculture set up the COVID-19 War Room. Together with partners such as Mastercard Foundation and USAID, and over 80 stakeholders, AGRA was invited to support the Food Security War Room that provided the Kenyan National COVID-19 Co-ordinating Committee with weekly food status reports.

The War Room has now transitioned and provides food security updates on a biweekly basis to the Kenyan Government. With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, and drawing lessons from the Kenya Food Security War Room, AGRA is working with the Africa Union Commission Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture in developing a food security platform. This includes a digital dashboard and a high level committee which continuously monitors the food security situation on the continent during times of shocks, and advises national and regional governments on the best course of action to take to address food insecurity.

AGRA invested more than USD11 million to mitigate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our investments supported food security coordination, regional food balance sheets, digital finance, supply chain investments, improved seeds, strengthening SMEs, data and analytics, political economy analysis, and rapid COVID-19 responses.

We also developed our thought leadership to assess the real-time impact of COVID-19 on market systems and businesses, along with recovery planning. AGRA published, for example, COVID-19 studies covering 10 of our 11 focus countries. We also publish a Food Security Monitor which is being used to influence food security policy interventions across East, West and Southern Africa

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