COVID-19, agricultural growth, and food insecurity in Africa

Paradoxically, while agriculture appears to be a buffer sector during the COVID-19 crisis in several Sub-Saharan African countries with agricultural production (Amankwah et al., 2021; Zeufack et al., 2021), food insecurity in Africa seems to be increasing (Food and Agriculture Organization et al., 2021). The negative effect of COVID-19 in addition to border disruptions and anti-COVID-19 policy measures have impacted all stages of agricultural value chains, from input supply to production, distribution logistics, and consumption, elevating the risks of food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition (Morsy et al., 2021). Laborde et al. (2020) point out that all pillars of food security (availability, access, utilization, stability) have suffered from COVID-19-induced disturbances in the global food system. With global food exports barely affected, it was expected that developing economies, particularly those in Africa that rely on food imports, would suffer the worst effects (Espitia et al., 2020). Rising food prices due to import shortages of certain grains, such as rice, were expected to pose a particular challenge to food access and availability.