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  • Andrew Adem

ONLINE CONFERENCE : Impact of the COVID-19 on small-scale farming, food security and sovereignty


The people of East Africa are largely small scale farmers with a significant role in food production and the agriculture sector, which is a priority policy objective of the East African Community (EAC). Before the impact of the desert locust on the sector could be assessed, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. With more than 130 cases and still counting of COVID-19 in the region, the entire East African regional governments have tightened borders, quarantines, restricted gatherings yet small scale farmers operate in groups. Currently, there is a lot of fear among small-scale farmers and most of them are staying away from their gardens in this planting season. With a further focus on women, more than 65% of food produced in the region is by rural small scale women farmers while men are more involved in labour off the farm. Women small scale farmers are also often responsible for the care of children, the sick and elderly. This means they might have increased exposure to COVID-19 with knock-on implications for food production, food preparation and child nutrition.

More still, the EAC has a youthful population, but most youths are in urban areas because they are less interested in agriculture. This has left further burden for women and the older farming population that could be more vulnerable to COVID-19. Fortunately, many EAC governments have shared crucial preventative measures through media that would contribute to the slowing down of the spread and impact.

On that note, ESAFF Uganda together with other ESAFF members, friends and partners in EAC found it needed to have small-scale farmer leaders in the region and key strategic partners discuss the possible impact of the COVID-19 to small-scale farming, food security and sovereignty as well as develop actionable strategies to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 on food security and sovereignty in the region

Date, time and participants

The Zoom Conference will be hosted on Wednesday 8th April 2020 at 2:30 PM EAT. The expected participants include small-scale farmers, policy makers, food security/rights advocates, media, students and interested citizens of EAC.


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