The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the global economy hard, and in many places other factors—such as the locust invasion in East Africa and falling export commodity prices—are compounding its effects. FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero observes that no modern economy has experienced anything like the combination of the Great Lockdown and the worst recession since the Great Depression, and that these could trigger a global food crisis—with Africa south of the Sahara especially vulnerable. He lays out a series of policy prescriptions that can help keep millions from starvation and fortify food systems for a post-pandemic world.—Johan Swinnen, series co-editor and IFPRI Director General.
By: Sara Gustafson
In the wake of the 2008 food price crisis, many policymakers and development practitioners shifted their focus toward enhancing the capacity and resilience of domestic food value chains. In West Africa, this new focus centered on rice. Since rice constitutes a leading staple food source in the region, it was hoped that increased investment in this area would increase domestic rice production and reduce reliance on imports, thus improving food security.
By Kalle Hirvonen, Gashaw Tadesse Abate, and Alan de Brauw