New Study to Focus on Impact of COVID-19 on Farmers, Herders

A new study to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of West Africa’s most vulnerable populations, including farmers, herders, and consumers, would be launched virtually on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. 

Funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the study would be conducted by experts from CORAF in collaboration with researchers drawn from National Agricultural Research Systems of five Sahelian countries. These include Cape Verde, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

How We Got Here

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the West African region in early 2020, governments took various measures to limit its spread.

These emergency measures ranged from closing borders and public institutions, including schools, markets, mosques, and churches, as well as isolating homes, communities, and total lockdown of regions and the entire state. These mitigation measures resulted in various disruptions in markets and supply chains of the region’s food system.

A year later, no specific study has evaluated the precise impact of the various policy measures on food and nutrition security. The new study to be conducted by CORAF will last several months. It would mainly investigate how governments’ measures affected the region’s food system, particularly the livelihoods of the most vulnerable population such as women and youths.

Why Farmers, Herders, and Consumers

The COVID-19 pandemic affected almost everyone regardless of socio-economic standing. But farmers, herders, and consumers, including youths and women, were disproportionately impacted.

“This study will investigate the impact of policies undertaken by the governments of these five countries to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of farmers and herders and other key stakeholders in their respective value chains,” says professor Abdulai Jalloh, Director of Research and Innovation of CORAF.

Specifically, the study will take stock of government responses and determine their impact on food production, availability, access, and coping mechanisms.

The study will identify gaps in COVID-19 responses, including gender inequality and propose policy considerations for managing future pandemics and risks reduction.

Over 7,500 people are expected to be interviewed in the five countries involved. Findings and conclusions would inform future pandemic-management-related policies and interventions.

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