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COVID-19 & Global Food Systems


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Johan Swinnen
IFIAD Annual Conference 2020
COVID-19 & Sustainable Food Systems - Transforming food systems in times of crises
OCT 21, 2020 - 10:00 AM TO 01:00 PM IST

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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COVID-19 & Global Food Systems

  1. 1. COVID-19 & GLOBAL FOOD SYSTEMS Johan Swinnen International Food Policy Research Institute IFIAD Annual Conference 2020 “COVID-19 and Sustainable Food Systems”, October 21, 2020
  2. 2. A combination of impacts of  Large economic RECESSION  Major food system DISRUPTIONS • Traditional supply chains (both harvesting, processing, transport and retailing) in poor countries • Labor-intensive activities in rich countries (e.g. some F&V harvests (migrants) and meat processing) COVID-19 impacts on food and nutrition security
  3. 3. COVID-19 impacts on global poverty and nutrition Source: Laborde, Martin and Vos, 2020 Impact on Global POVERTY 148 79 42 20% 23% 15% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 0 40 80 120 160 World Sub-Saharan Africa South Asia Increase no. of poor (millions) % increase poverty (RHS) Impact on Global NUTRITION
  4. 4. COVID-19 impacts on country GDP and poverty Average per month of lockdown Source: Amewu et al. 2020; Baulch et al. 2020; Diao et al. 2020; Pradesha et al. 2020; Thurlow, 2020. -24.3% -37.2% -30.1% Indonesia Ghana Nigeria 13.3 16.7 12.212.6 16.8 10.7 14.0 16.5 15.0 Indonesia Ghana Nigeria National Rural Urban Increase in POVERTY headcount (% points)Changes in country GDP (%)
  5. 5. Source: IFPRI and MSU, 2020  Despite disruptions, food supply chains adjusted relatively well to meet demand  Household income and job loss were most severe impact Supply disruptions versus income and employment Survey evidence from Myanmar
  6. 6. 1. They spend a large share of their income on food 2. Their main production factor and asset is physical labor 3. COVID causes more disruptions in their (private) food value chains – since more labor-intensive 4. Public social and nutrition programs are disrupted (more important for them) 5. Less access to health services 6. Especially vulnerable: children, women, (ex-)migrants Poor people’s food and nutrition security is disproportionately affected by COVID-19
  7. 7. 50 26.7 27.5 Poorest Middle Richest Poor people suffer more from INCOME declines Poor people suffer more from NUTRITION effects 30.8 60.8 71.7 20.8 44.2 69.2 Poorest Middle Richest Jan-Feb May COVID-19 impacts on inequality in food systems Survey results from Ethiopia Source: Hirvonen et al. 2020; Tesfaye et al. 2020. % of households consuming dairy products% of households that have much lower incomes
  8. 8. Women are especially vulnerable Gendered impacts of COVID-19  Health measures affect women and men differently in developing countries, particularly in rural areas  Income shocks also have gendered impacts  Impact on women’s empowerment and children’s schooling could affect female labor force participation in the next generation, also violence-related services Gender-sensitive policy responses  Adapt existing policies and social protection to account for gender implications  Improve program targeting for women  Utilize accessible delivery mechanisms  Complementary programming in food and nutrition, water and sanitation, maternal health, etc. Source: Quisumbing et al. 2020; Hidrobo et al. 2020.
  9. 9. Changes in GDP (%), NIGERIA: 5-week lockdown Changes in GDP (%), MYANMAR: 2-week lockdown -41% -24% -14% -33% -71% -38% -18% -14% -29% -92% Economic impacts on food systems Source: Thurlow, 2020.
  10. 10. Source: Bouet and Laborde, 2020; Resnick 2020 See: IFPRI’s COVID-19 Policy Response Portal  Rapid response to export restrictions by major global producers: “Trade restrictions are worst possible response to safeguard food security”  FAO, G20, WTO etc., called for open trade to avoid repeating the problems of 2007-2008—skyrocketing world prices  Developing country responses vary widely in approach and impact  But trade restrictions very widely applied COVID-19 trade restrictions (int’l and domestic) create problems for developing countries
  11. 11. Source: Fang, Kennedy, and Resnick, 2020. Scaling and sustaining social protection under COVID-19 Distribution of policy types within social protection Share of social protection policies targeted to specific populations
  12. 12. Source: Reardon and Swinnen, 2020.  Heterogeneity:  Global -- local  Labor -- capital intensity  Large -- small-scale  Short -- long run  Staples -- perishables  Many innovations to overcome restrictions  E.g. Digital growth : e-commerce & ICT solutions Restructuring supply chains and food systems
  13. 13. Moving Beyond Crisis Management COVID-19 and Future Food Systems 1. A transformative moment in history 2. Much creativity and innovation in restructuring value chains and food systems to deal with crisis 3. From crisis management to opportunity to create more resilient food systems 4. Crucial role to play for public and private sectors