In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has troubled the world. Beyond a health crisis, it has also caused an economic crisis. Food systems are also greatly affected, but it is not that easy to understand the details of this. As it is very important for 2SCALE to understand this impact and act upon it, we asked our private sector partners: How do you deal with this pandemic?
A short online questionnaire was set up to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their activities, and the measures they have adopted to deal with it. In this blog, we share with you the main conclusions from this quick survey under which over 40 of our private sector partners from our different program countries responded within a short timeframe.
Working with farmers
Governments in many countries took significant measures to limit propagation of the virus, with restrictions on the movement of goods and people being one of the most impactful measures. Group works, meetings, outreach activities like farmers field training, many of these activities are suspended until further notice. The measure is also making it difficult for farmers to supply companies, and where raw materials are still available, prices have gone up significantly. It is also leading to spoilage on farms and during product transportation:
“Due to the curfew imposed by the government, our farmers, aggregators, and agents are finding it difficult moving raw materials from the farms to our factory” / “overzealous security personnel delay our vehicles, which leads to spoilage.”
This situation requires both SMEs and farmer organizations, as well as individual farmers, to take immediate actions to cope with the effects, which we can see from the following quotes:
“Most of our raw materials are sourced from Kayes, one of the first regions in Mali to have registered cases of COVID-19. Transport is currently limited in the area. The company is transporting the baobab from that region to Bamako on its own; which is more expensive for us.”
“We have surprisingly witnessed increased demand for inputs and services from farmers. We think this is because they [...] want to invest in something that will guarantee them income. We also experience more farmers intending to sell their produce [..] most of them need cash to meet (family) obligations.”