The impacts of COVID-19 responses on the political economy of African food systems (COVID-19-AFS)

IDRC’s response to the COVID-19 crisis includes a rapid response to the food and nutritional security crisis associated with COVID-19. This response mechanism supports the development of new, short-term activities that supplement existing projects. The goals are to document the impact of the pandemic (and control measures) on local food systems and food security; to document planned and spontaneous responses to the emerging crisis; and to strengthen responses to the current crisis. The rapid response mechanism also supports the development of new projects that document and analyze the efficacy of those responses. This will help low- and middle-income countries respond more efficiently to subsequent waves of the epidemic and to potential future shocks.

This project aims to implement action-oriented research on the impacts of COVID-19 interventions on the functioning and structure of food systems in Tanzania, Ghana, and South Africa. These three countries cover a spectrum of different economies, food systems, and COVID-19 responses. The research team will collect and analyze information across formal and informal food systems using a mixed-methods approach. By mapping food flows, key informant interviews, ethnographic field and online research, and collecting voice notes and video material, the project will gain a real-time understanding of the direct impacts of regulatory responses on production systems, value chains, and formal and informal markets by focusing on women and marginalized actors. The findings will be packaged and disseminated for policy, advocacy, and academic purposes.

Project ID


Project status



12 months

IDRC Officer

Annie Wesley

Total funding

CA$ 725,600


Ghana, South of Sahara, Tanzania


Climate-Resilient Food Systems, Agriculture and Food Security

Project Leader

Ruth Hall


University of the Western Cape

Institution Country

South Africa

Institution Website