Source: Sahel Consulting
It has only been a few weeks since governments across West Africa ordered partial or complete lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and already the region’s fragile food ecosystems are suffering. There are disruptions of supply chains, challenges transporting produce from farmers to markets, restrictions in movements between states and countries, rising unemployment, and reductions in remittances from the diaspora. Food prices have risen by 10 to 50 percent in Nigeria and other countries have faced similar trends.
Despite the efforts of government agencies, private sector, faith-based, community and nonprofit organizations to feed the most vulnerable, many families remain hungry. In fact, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) estimates that the number of people at risk of food insecurity and malnutrition will rise from 17 million to 50 million between June and August 2020.
Many global experts have underscored that this pandemic is a 12-18-month battle and that the world should expect future pandemics and shocks linked to climate change and other crises. As a result, there is an urgent need to transform and strengthen our food ecosystems so that we are better prepared to keep people nourished going forward.
We can start by taking these four critical steps.