Responses to COVID-19 through social protection and the strengthening of local food systems: Case of the Niayes in Senegal (COVID19-AFS)
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact in the Sahel region of West Africa, which is already facing several protracted crises, including environmental degradation, poverty, conflict, rural exodus, and gender inequality. Although Senegal launched several economic and financial measures to strengthen health systems and support the most vulnerable households, businesses, and the diaspora, large parts of the primary sector were not specifically targeted by these measures and have been suffering. The multidimensional shocks of COVID-19 have reinforced existing vulnerabilities in local food systems and created new ones. The lack of structure and professionalism of agricultural value chains, pervasiveness of informal distribution channels, weak financing, lack of storage and conservation infrastructure, and uncertainties related to product quality, have all been exacerbated by the pandemic.
This project will generate knowledge and support tools to improve decision-making for social protection mechanisms and strengthen local food systems in the Niayes region of Senegal. Highly influenced by nearby urban markets, the Niayes region provides a fertile ground for identifying critical points in local food systems that affect the delivery of essential food items to urban, peri-urban, and rural populations. The project will analyze government and stakeholder responses to food and nutrition insecurity, document the impact of government and stakeholders’ interventions to strengthen the resilience of food systems, and explore the best way to respond to future shocks and support food systems.
This project is supported through IDRC’s rapid research response to the COVID-19 crisis. This response mechanism supports the development of new short-term activities as a supplement to existing projects, to document the impact of the pandemic (and control measures) on local food systems and on food security, to document planned and spontaneous responses to the emerging crisis, and to inform responses to the current crisis and future challenges.