COVID19 TO NEGATIVELY IMPACT AGRO-FOOD SYSTEMS

Mwapata Institute has  embarked on a  study to assess the potential effects of Covid-19 Pandemic on agr0-food systems in Malawi.

Mwapata Institute is an independent agricultural policy think tank that is engaging the government of Malawi, Private Sector and the Civil Society stakeholders in a program of applied policy analysis, outreach, capacity building and policy coordination.

Sloans Chimatiro (Executive Director for Mwapata Institute)
Sloans Chimatiro (Executive Director for Mwapata Institute)

Addressing journalists in Lilongwe, Executive Director for Mwapata Institute, Sloans Chimatiro, said they have noted that the COVID-19 Pandemic is adversely affecting Malawi’s Agr0-food systems in an unprecedented way.

He said some of  measures government  put in place to prevent the spread of  the pandemic like  social distancing, closure of central markets, and harvesting crops  are likely to affect farmers, fishermen, pastoralist and consumers way of life.

Chimatiro said: ” Malawi’s Agro-food systems may be affected as restrictions on informal markets may restrict farmers options to sale crops as they enter into the major harvest and marketing season among others”.

“Government needs evidence based guidance to quickly design policies that effectively mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 that threaten to disrupt supply chains and livelihoods. This is likely to result in strained livelihoods in both the rural and urban areas, higher food prices and severe economic fallout of employees in the Agricultural sector,” stressed Chimatiro.

The Mwapata executive director also said the study has also been initiated to assess how players along the agricultural value chains are being affected or likely to be affected, as well examining the enduring effects of the Pandemic.

He added that the study will be in three phases. The first phase is to  involve compilation of Covid-19 facts in Malawi, the Second phase will be based on telephone interviews with a cross section of major players in the Agricultural value chains to capture their voices and and gather information on how they are being affected by  the pandemic and the third phase is going to assess the longer term impacts of the Pandemic and propose evidence based response strategies.

The study  whis is expected to end in July 2020 will be conducted with Funding from Mwapata Institute, CISANET, LUANAR, National Planning Commission(NPC) and  other partners.

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