Virus pandemic may hit food security, government warns

Friday May 29 2020

A farmer inspects her maize crop. The ministry

A farmer inspects her maize crop. The ministry of Agriculture has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic may have adverse effects on food security in the country. PHOTO | FILE 

Dar es Salaam. The government has warned that the impact of Cov-id-19 may affect food security as the pandemic will disrupt availability and access to the basic human need.

The four pillars of food security and nutrition namely availability, access, utilisation and stability may be affected by containment measures taken by different countries, according to a ministry of Agriculture report.

The National Food Security Bulletin for April 2020 states that the containment measures of Covid-19 adopted by several countries will also have longer-term impacts on global economy especially if the dis-ease persists.

The report says the impact on food supply as Covid-19 cases surge around the world will disrupt the agrifood supply chains.

“Although there was plenty food in the supply chains at the start of the pandemic, disruption to sup-plies have tracked outbreaks due to rise in panic buying by people concerned on supply of the produce during the potential lockdowns in some countries across the region,” reads the report in part.

Furthermore, the document suggests farmer’s ill-ness and market troubles will likely arise due to policies imposed when containing the pandemic, therefore weakening capacity of food production, conversion and transportation.


The bulletin also warns that timely access to agricultural inputs for crop cultivation would be delayed by disrupted transport and markets, hence affecting yields and income.

“Restriction to movement of workers will cause shortage of work-force, especially to labor-intensive crops, such as fruits and vegetables,” reads the document.

Furthermore, the report says disruptions in food chains and social distancing policies may also affect provision of social assistance including to children who rely on school meals when schools are closed.

The document says decreased demand and purchasing power will adequately affect farmer’s ability and willingness to invest and adopt modern technology, hence further dwindling production and availability of food.

“This will significantly decrease the overall demand for food-related services such as restaurants and hotels. Repercussions are projected to be on loss of jobs, incomes and livelihoods,” reads the report.

According to the report, Covid-19 containment and social distancing policies will spike in demand due to panic purchase and hoarding of food by consumers.

As a result, the short-term demand of food will increase, primarily among people with ability of buying and maintaining stocks in their homes.