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Crop Biotech Update

Research Highlights COVID-19 Impacts on Food Security in Kenya and Uganda

September 23, 2020

Scientists from the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) have conducted a new research that highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security in Kenya and Uganda. Two-thirds of those surveyed have experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic. From a random sample of 442 respondents, the researchers led by Dr. Monica Kanslime found that the proportion of food insecure people increased by 38% and 44% in Kenya and Uganda, respectively.

The survey was conducted online questionnaires using WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, and email. The researchers also found that in both countries, the regular consumption of fruits decreased by around 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to before the crisis struck. Respondents mentioned other COVID-19-induced social challenges such as restricted movements, interrupted work schedules, mental health issues, and isolation aside from income effects.

Dr. Kansime said that although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused detrimental effects on all economic sectors, farmers are more likely than salary and wage earners to report suffering income shocks. "Potential explanations include difficulties for farmers to go to farms, access inputs, or transport their produce to markets due to COVID-19 induced lockdown. Compared to salary and wage-earning workers, the farmers in this sample earned relatively low incomes. Consequently, even a small shock to their income-earning activity could cause devastating effects," she added.

For more details about this study, read the article in CABI News.

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