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State of food and agriculture in the Asia and Pacific region, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

Thirty-sixth Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC 36)
















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    Book (stand-alone)
    Agricultural trade & policy responses during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 2021
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    Measures adopted around the world to contain the COVID-19 outbreak helped curb the spread of the virus and lowered the pressure on health systems. However, they also affected the global trading system, and the supply and demand of agricultural and food products. In response to concerns over food security and food safety worldwide, many countries reacted immediately to apply policy measures aiming to limit potentially adverse impacts on domestic markets. Covering the first half of 2020, the report provides an overview of short-term changes in trade patterns and policy measures related to agricultural trade that countries adopted in response to the pandemic. Despite the shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and containment measures, the efforts of governments and agricultural sector stakeholders to keep agricultural markets open and trade flowing smoothly contributed to remarkably resilient value chains. Effects on global trade in food and agriculture remained limited to short-term disruptions at the very beginning of the pandemic. Governments’ policy responses covered a wide range of measures, including export restrictions, lowering of import barriers, and domestic measures. Most of the trade restricting measures were short-lived. International political commitments were pivotal in the coordination of a global response to the crisis and in deterring countries from taking unilateral measures that could have harmed food security in other parts of the world. However, COVID-19 is still spreading and may entail severe implications for access to food and longer-term shifts in global demand and supply of food and agricultural commodities.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agriculture, food security and nutrition in Africa 2021
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    Since the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March 2020, it has gripped the world in two or more different waves in different regions. It has caused tremendous human suffering due to the disease itself and because it triggered the adoption of restrictive measures resulting in disrupted livelihoods for many. The pandemic and related control measures have most impact on the livelihoods of vulnerable populations. The sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region, in particular, was already reeling under the tremendous burden of poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, and hunger, and is thus highly vulnerable to the ongoing direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19. Hence, this publication aims to analyze the direct and/or indirect impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Africa's agrifood systems on various aspects as macroeconomic impact, agricultural production (crops, livestock, and fisheries sectors), markets and value chains, trade, and overall food security by providing a synthesis of studies and reports already published, and the relevant secondary data available. This publication also provides criteria-based priority lists of countries using the composite index methodology, considering the four selected dimensions – the incidence and severity of COVID-19 pandemic, economic vulnerability aggravating factors, food security vulnerability aggravating factors, and the lack of coping capacity. The priority lists generated covering all African countries help focus on those requiring urgent attention from national and international communities for mitigation, recovery, and development.
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    Public employment programmes in the time of COVID-19 2020
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    COVID-19 has quickly morphed from an unprecedented health crisis to a massive economic shock—and, unless immediate and decisive action is taken to sustain consumption levels and prevent disruptions to food supply chains, it could easily lead into a global food crisis. Public employment programmes (PEP) - which refer to a wide array of interventions including public works, cash for work, and temporary or emergency employment programmes - have a long track record of deployment in response to cyclical shocks, seasonal deprivation, and severe macro-economic crisis involving sharp income loss and large under- and unemployment. PEPs, in fact, have a key role to play not only in the short term, by mitigating the impact of the public health emergency and its economic fallout, but also in the medium and longer term, by helping rural households and economies weather the effects of the looming economic recession and recover in the post-pandemic. Well designed, PEPs can help boost both the public health, social protection and macroeconomic responses to the crisis. This brief aims to shed light on the important role of PEPs as a social protection instrument for reducing poverty and effectively responding to and recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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