Since early 2020, an outbreak of COVID-19 – an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus – has rapidly spread across the world, devastating lives and livelihoods. As of May 2020, the full impact of the virus on food security and agricultural food systems is not yet known, nor will it likely be, for months to come as the spread of the virus continues to evolve differently by continent and by country. What is clear is that it is already having significant negative effects on people along the food supply chain – from producers to processors, marketers, transporters and consumers. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is deeply concerned about the potential impacts of the virus and related containment efforts on food security and livelihoods, particularly in contexts of high vulnerability and where populations are already experiencing food crises, like in Mozambique.
The spread of COVI D-19 represents an unprecedented shock for Mozambique, with wide-ranging health, welfare, nutrition, food security and socio-economic consequences, especially due to the expected loss of livelihoods and income streams. The potential for this to become a complex humanitarian tragedy is clear by the compounding effects of the health crisis on already highly vulnerable populations. In Mozambique, COVID-19 will affect the same communities who have barely recovered from recent major shocks such as cyclones, drought, floods and conflict, which severely affected their food security and livelihoods.
Within the framework of FAO’s component in the United Nations (UN) Global COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Plan, FAO in Mozambique has assessed the potential impacts of the virus in the local context and developed a plan to maintain the provision of critical assistance where there are already high levels of need, while also meeting new needs emerging from the effects of COVID-19. Within the Plan, FAO in Mozambique’s efforts will focus on the following main areas of work:
• contributing to national data and analysis on food security;
• ensuring availability of and access to food;
• ensuring continuity of the critical food supply chains; and
• ensuring actors along the food supply chain are not at risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The Plan is aligned with FAO Mozambique Country Programming Framework (CPF) and covers the period from May 2020 to April 2021 and the total budget is USD 20 million. The timeframe will allow for immediate support in the cool season and non-crop related interventions, as well as prepraration and coverage of the main agricultural season. There are initial indications of geographic targeting that will be revised and adjusted as the situation evolves and additional data and analyses are available.