“If you have any idea about farming then you probably know that crops need to be planted at a certain time of the year. But this March, Zimbabwe went into a national lockdown, and the window for seeding wheat had passed,” says Ruramiso Mashumba, a farmer and CEO of Mnandi Africa, an organization that helps rural women in Zimbabwe obtain knowledge and better farming skills through training, access to farming equipment and collective marketing.
Ruramiso reports that the movement restrictions and their timing lead to very low wheat harvest, and her country will likely face grain deficit and a subsequent sharp increase in prices. At the same time, in March, many farmers had only just harvested their vegetable crops but had to waste their produce because markets were closed, and it was not allowed to sell by the road either.
These encounters are not unique, COVID-19 continues hurting health and economies around the world. The ongoing crisis threatens undoing decades of development progress in poverty and hunger alleviation, challenging our food production and, particularly, hitting hard the small-scale farmers, who provide half of the global food supplies. So, what we do now to protect them will have long term implications for food security in the years to come.
Is it plausible to provide critical COVID-19 relief without losing sight of the long-term food security and resilience goals? And how to leverage our experience of the pandemic crisis to the benefit of sustainable food security in the future? These questions were at the heart of discussions during the “Recovery, reactivation and resilience – sustainable food security in a post-COVID world” online event organized by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and SIANI on September 4, 2020.
Reporting by Ekaterina Bessonova, Communications Officer, SIANI.
Photo: Abubakar Balogun / Unsplash.