Impact of COVID-19 on food systems: a situation report II

These document series summarise some rapid assessments undertaken by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) 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 is placed on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the food system.

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 here.

  • 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.