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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Senegal declared a state of emergency on March 23, 2020, followed by a range of policy measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus: Transport was significantly restricted, wet markets were closed, and shops were required to limit their hours. These moves disrupted food supply chains, in particular those of highly perishable products such as fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV).
The number of people around the world facing severe food insecurity skyrocketed by 20 million in 2020, according to the 2021 Global Report on Food Crises, released earlier this month. Acute food insecurity now affects at least 155 million people across 55 countries/territories, with some regions facing famine-level hunger.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented countries with enormous policy challenges. Policymakers have had to balance limited resources between health, food systems, and economies in a continually evolving public health emergency and an associated recession. Low-income countries have faced especially difficult choices because of their limited budgets and administrative capacity.
While Africa south of the Sahara has largely avoided severe health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (fewer than 5 percent of globally confirmed cases and approximately 89,000 COVID-related deaths), the region is experiencing economic fallout due to national and global pandemic policy responses. Economic growth, value chain functioning, incomes, trade, poverty, and consumption have all been negatively affected, according to IFPRI’s 2021 Global Food Policy Report.
At an online event on January 19, 2021, researchers from national research institutes and universities in the Sahel region and Germany, namely the Agrhymet Regional Centre of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) in Niger and the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn (ZEF) in Germany launched a series of national cases studies*) and a regional synthesis report on rural development, agricultural livelihoods and job creation in the Sahel region.