39 of 100: Ag and COVID: Q&A: COVID-19 pandemic – impact on food and agriculture

Q8: How has FAO responded to the COVID-19 outbreak?

As part of its COVID-19 response, FAO’s priorities are: (1) support developing countries to anticipate and mitigate the pandemic’s impacts on their populations’ food security and livelihoods; (2) contribute to discussions on mitigating COVID-19’s impacts on global food trade and markets; (3) and support countries and research institutions in ongoing investigations to identify potential animal hosts of the virus and reduce spillover effects to humans.

For example:

  • FAO provides policy advice, and shares guidelines and best practices to countries on: ensuring food supply chains’ continuity and protection; protecting vulnerable populations’ food security and nutrition; food safety; and ensuring readiness to rapidly detect COVID-19 in animals and animal products, if need be.
  • FAO and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences are conducting an assessment of the impacts of the pandemic on market chains and rural livelihoods in China. Moving forward, FAO will generate food security information and analyses, impact and need assessments and other data that will allow for evidence-based interventions to shore up food security and people’s livelihoods.

FAO’s experience and expertise in strengthening communities’ safety nets and resilience to food insecurity, in food safety and trade can help efforts to safeguard people’s food security, nutrition and livelihoods.

FAO is reorganizing its humanitarian and resilience programming to ensure continued delivery of assistance where there are already high levels of need while meeting new needs emerging from the effects of COVID-19. This includes: improving data gathering and analysis to inform decision-making; providing smallholder farmers and herders with seeds, tools, livestock feed and other inputs, along with animal health support, so they can continue to produce food for their families and communities and generate income; distributing seeds and home gardening kits, food storage systems, and poultry and other small stock to improve household nutrition and diversify incomes; and, supporting incomes and purchasing power through the injections of cash (unconditional transfers/cash+), so that affected families can meet critical needs without selling off their assets.

The UN system on 25 March launched a consolidated humanitarian appeal under which FAO asked donors for $110 million to protect the food security of vulnerable rural populations. 


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