Covid-19: Fifteen African countries threatened by a food crisis, FAO and WFP warned

03 April 2020, Bari Payam, South Sudan - Between 3-4 April 2020, FAO distributed seeds and essential farming tools to 500 households Northern Bari Payam in Central Equatoria State. In South Sudan, due to the COVID19 pandemic movement restrictions, FAO is adapting to the new reality by finding new ways to work in order to distribute seeds to farmers in time for the ongoing planting season. Without these seeds, farming families could face a food crisis within the global health crisis.

According to a joint analysis by the World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 15 “at-risk” African countries are threatened by a food crisis.

These are the countries of the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger), Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Sudan, Southern Sudan and Somalia.

According to FAO and WFP, Covid-19 tends to increase hunger-related suffering. Falling employment levels mean that households have less money to spend on food and expatriate workers send less money to their families in food-insecure countries.

In addition, measures to combat the pandemic are having a significant and growing impact on food production and supply. Finally, the pandemic is contributing to increased conflict between communities over natural resources, such as water and grazing land, with disruptive effects on production and the agricultural sector.
The pandemic accentuates food crises linked to economic crises (such as in Zimbabwe) or to natural phenomena such as droughts or locust swarms currently observed in the Horn of Africa.