Between Collapse and Resilience: Emerging Empirical Evidence of COVID-19 Impact on Food Security in Uganda and Zimbabwe

23 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2020

See all articles by Philipp Trotter

Philipp Trotter

University of Oxford - School of Geography and Environment

Michael B. Mugisha

Makerere University - College of Business and Management Sciences

Abby T. Mgugu-Mhene

FANIK

Bothwell Batidzirai

Stellenbosch University

Anant R. Jani

University of Oxford - Oxford Martin School

Renaldi Renaldi

University of Oxford - Department of Engineering Science

Date Written: July 21, 2020

Abstract

There is widespread agreement that COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge for food security in low-income countries. Strict lockdown rules to contain the spread of the virus have made food production, distribution and access difficult. However, the scarcity of consolidated data on COVID-19-induced food supply and demand interruptions in low-income countries exacerbates the challenge of effective short-term and long-term food security responses. This paper is among the first to present emerging empirical evidence of the food supply-side and demand-side impact of COVID-19 in low-income countries. We interviewed 36 food suppliers and public sector stakeholders involved in the COVID-19 response in Uganda and Zimbabwe and collected household survey data in Uganda’s Central Region to analyze four food types, namely staple food with long shelf life, staple food with intermediate shelf life, perishable fruit and vegetables, and perishable animal products. We find a negative, albeit highly varied impact of COVID-19 on both food supply and household impact. Some food supply chains like matooke and fish in Uganda or tomatoes and lettuce in Zimbabwe have largely collapsed, and urban slum respondents in our sample report a reduction of average daily meals consumed from 2.4 to 1.3. At the same time, mediated by structural value chain differences, domestically produced staple crops, certain fresh vegetables, the Ugandan dairy value chain have been more resilient, the decrease in average number of daily meals consumed is limited for our rural household survey respondents. While there is an urgent need for short-term action to avert acute food insecurity in both countries, they offer lessons how long-term structural resilience against external shocks can be improved.

Keywords: Food insecurity, Coronavirus, sub-Saharan Africa, supply chain, food waste, malnutrition

Suggested Citation

Trotter, Philipp and Mugisha, Michael B. and Mgugu-Mhene, Abby T. and Batidzirai, Bothwell and Jani, Anant R. and Renaldi, Renaldi, Between Collapse and Resilience: Emerging Empirical Evidence of COVID-19 Impact on Food Security in Uganda and Zimbabwe (July 21, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3657484 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3657484

Philipp Trotter (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - School of Geography and Environment ( email )

Oxford University Centre for the Environment
South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3QY
United Kingdom

Michael B. Mugisha

Makerere University - College of Business and Management Sciences

P.O Box, 7062
Kampala, 256
Uganda

Abby T. Mgugu-Mhene

FANIK

Zimbabwe

Bothwell Batidzirai

Stellenbosch University

Private Bag X1
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7602
South Africa

Anant R. Jani

University of Oxford - Oxford Martin School

University of Oxford
34 Broad Street
Oxford, OX1 3BD
United Kingdom

Renaldi Renaldi

University of Oxford - Department of Engineering Science

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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