The whole world is going through an unprecedented economic damage due to the new coronavirus pandemic. It is predicted to have devastating effects on the global economy that will certainly be more intense than and distinct from those felt during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. It is likely to go down in history as one of the worst the world has endured.[1]

All areas of life seem to be at a standstill. Having no choice, restrictive lockdown measures have been the most appropriate means of controlling and stopping the contamination. This has imposed a considerable slowdown in economic activity. Food insecurity is likely to become extremely severe due to massive layoffs, fall in remittances etc. Road closures/blockages and checks prevent small holder farmers to sell products or buy inputs, resulting in loss of income, loss of produce and affecting next season cultivation.[2] This slow down, agricultural services, access to inputs, delivery of goods, and marketing are leading to income decline and accumulation of produce at farms.

Many challenges are looming on the horizon and one wonders how people will be able to continue to survive once the situation returns to normal. States need to explore how to support each other as well as supporting their populations especially those in marginalized sectors. Government assistance such as production and marketing support for the small food producers[3] is one way of addressing the aftermath of this crisis. Exploring the use of food banks could be another option – through not only direct provision of food by governments, but also donations from individuals, solidarity networks, non-governmental organizations, etc.[4]  Provide immediate and substantial economic relief (including food grains, cash, and other forms of aid that are essential and appropriate) and social protection that are readily accessible to the  most in need.

This crisis will surely have harsher impacts on the most vulnerable groups of society, lower income sectors and the poor. The more unequal a country is, the more vulnerable groups will bear the burden of the economic impact of the pandemic and the fewer resources they will have to fight the pandemic. Special attention must be paid to women for their dual role as workers and caretakers.

“This pandemic has the potential to reshape geopolitical globalization, but it is also an opportunity to recall the benefits of multilateral action. It is important to see how policy coordination can serve to support developing countries, since the asymmetries between developed and developing nations will be ever more clearly noticeable. There must be more integration. Without a doubt, we must move towards greater coordination, and the policy priority must be how to address the current social and health crisis We need to rethink everything, the entire economy. We need a new vision to focus ourselves on how to cope with the extremely difficult scenario that lies before us.”[5]

Odile Ntakirutimana

AEFJN Policy Officer


[2] Coronavirus Food Supply Chain Under Strain What to do?


[4] Coronavirus Food Supply Chain Under Strain What to do?

[5] Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission Latin America and the Caribbean: