FAO State of Food and Agriculture Report 2021: Diversification is key to building resilient agrifood systems
Over the last few years, global food systems have been disrupted by conflict, economic shocks, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing global food insecurity and malnutrition.
A Jan. 19 policy seminar examined the implications of fragile agrifood systems and the findings of FAO’s The State of Food and Agriculture 2021 (SOFA) report. The report analyzes the vulnerabilities of food supply chains and how at-risk populations such as those in rural areas cope with risks and shocks.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the midstream of agrifood value chains—wholesalers, logistics, and processors—play a critical role to food security and value chain transformation. These enterprises help keep food supplies affordable and stable, provide employment and income for millions of rural and urban workers, and improve food quality and safety for consumers. However, in South Asia, Africa south of the Sahara (SSA), and other developing regions, SMEs often don’t play a role in the food system transformation conversation.
The Impacts of COVID-19 on Farmers' Income and Food Security In The Globalized Cassava Value Chains In Cambodia and Vietnam
Scientists from the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, led by Vanya Slavchevska, undertook a rapid study to gather evidence on the initial impacts of COVID-19 on cassava smallholders in Cambodia and Vietnam.
The research evaluates how smallholders coped with the economic consequences of COVID-19 in the short term, and whether livelihood diversification strategies mediated or exacerbated the impacts of the crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic context
Several constraints limit the ability of smallholder farmers in low and middle income countries (LMICs) to reach their production potential. One such constraint is access to formal finance; smallholders and other agricultural value chain participants frequently cannot access credit necessary to invest in new crops or technologies and deal with risks and shocks and/or savings products necessary to safely carry wealth from harvest to planting.
Increasing urbanization plays a major role in shifting patterns of food supply and demand and thus in transforming food systems. These transformations carry significant implications for the livelihoods of rural populations, presenting both challenges and opportunities. A new paper published in Food Security examines some of these impacts in Africa south of the Sahara (SSA) and South Asia, as well as the enabling environments needed to help rural communities benefit from the changes.