Mwapata Institute, agriculture policy think-tank, has initiated a study to assess the potential effects of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on agri-food systems.
The study will also delve into how players in the agricultural value chain are being affected or likely to be affected and examine the enduring effects of the pandemic.
In a statement, Mwapata Institute executive director Sloans Chimatiro said the study will be in three phases and the first phase will involve compiling Covid-19 facts in Malawi and government policy responses.
He said: “Government needs evidence-based guidance to quickly design policies that effectively mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 that threaten to disrupt supply chains and livelihoods.
“This is likely to result in strained livelihoods in both the rural and urban areas, higher food prices, and severe economic fallout of employees in the agricultural sector.”
Last week, Farmers Union of Malawi president Frighton Njolomole feared that apart from the loss of livelihoods among farmers, Covid-19 restrictions will also exacerbate hunger due to huge post-harvest losses that will result in 1.5 million urban and peri-urban city citizens facing hunger as food will be in short supply.
Mwapata Institute works in close collaboration with the National Planning Commission of Malawi, the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Michigan State University. n