Webinar: Covid-19 and African food security
Thursday, 25 June 2020 at 13:00 (CAT)

Join PLAAS for the next webinar in this series; it will focus on food security in Africa during the coronavirus pandemic. This webinar is presented by PLAAS and the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA). PLAAS is a NELGA Technical Node.

This webinar will be live on Thursday, 25 June 2020 at:

  • 12:00 West Africa Time (WAT)
  • 13:00 Central Africa Time (CAT)
  • 14:00 East Africa Time (EAT)

The impacts of Covid-19 on food security are complex. While food production continues, the pandemic has profoundly affected farmers, fishers, workers and traders, and the ability of people to buy food. The interruption of food value chains, and regional and global trade, have prompted export bans and other measures to shore up food availability. Matters have been made worse by an income crisis, as lockdown regulations have limited people’s movement and ability to generate a livelihood with which to buy food. Food shortages and price spikes have occurred in places, alongside dramatic declines in purchasing power. One response has been food relief, which has been uneven and largely inadequate, alongside forms of social solidarity and social protection. Countries with existing challenges of poverty, inequality and hunger have seen these exposed in sharp relief, as the frailties of our economies and food systems are exposed.

The conversation in this webinar will address the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic and governments’ lockdown regulations on food security. This will be a lively and wide-ranging conversation in three parts.

1. Impacts: We will summarise what we know about food security and food system impacts.
  • What has the Covid-19 moment meant for food security and food systems in Africa?
  • Does it signal a production crisis, a distribution crisis, an entitlements crisis—or what combination of the three?
  • How are existing inequalities affected and are women and men differently affected?
  • What underlying frailties in African food systems has the crisis exposed?
  • How are food systems changing, in rural and urban areas, and in the connections between them?
2. Responses: We will take stock of the agency and actions of African people and institutions.
  • How are people affected and responding—as citizens, consumers, producers, traders?
  • What are governments doing, individually and together?
  • What are civil society, private sector and aid agencies doing?
  • What’s the politics of food aid and relief, what are the upsides and downsides—and for whom?
3. Futures: Moving to a vision and plan for the future, we will debate:
  • What does this all mean for the future of food security and food systems in Africa?
  • What is the likely long-term damage to food security?
  • What are the competing articulations of what ‘recovery’ might look like?
  • Does this moment of disruption offer an opportunity to reconfigure food systems to improve food security?
  • What decisions need to be made now to move African food systems onto a more resilient and equitable path?
  • What is at the heart of the political fight about the future of African food security and food systems?
Speakers for this webinar are:
  • Dr Joan Kagwanja, Chief of Agriculture and Business Enabling Environment and Coordinator of the African Land Policy Centre, UN Economic Commission for Africa
  • Million Belay, African Food Sovereignty Alliance
  • Prof. Mamadou Goita, University of Mali
  • Prof. Moenieba Isaacs, PLAAS, University of Western Cape

Watch the webinar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCUum75TOEI Or view it below.