The COVID 19 pandemic has brought the world partially to a standstill. Movement of people and goods is seriously hampered at domestic and cross-boundary levels. Currently, governments in over 70 countries have imposed various degrees of lock-downs affecting 3 Billion people worldwide. This has severe consequences for many sectors including the agricultural sector. Farmers and agricultural enterprises, in all VCB-N member countries, are likewise heavily affected by the current restrictions in their respective countries.
The measures taken to avoid the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic affect local as well as global agricultural value chains and food systems. Food systems and value chains are seriously disrupted through both, up- and downstream blockages. Farmers are not able access markets anymore, and in many cases also do not have access to storage or cooling facilities thus are forced to dump their produce. While globally, imposed export and import restrictions lead to limited exports of produce and potentially food shortages in import depending countries. Farming families combining farming with off-farm income are among the ones most severely affected as also opportunities for earning off-farm daily wages are cut off.
Measures to enhance the resilience of the agricultural sector against external shocks like this kind of pandemic crises seem desperately needed. This could entail more circularity and autonomy in local based production systems; increased availability of and access to processing and storage facilities or; creating food banks and emergency stocks at decentralized levels.
The term “think global, act local” seems to be more appropriate than ever…
In response the VCB-N launches a series of Webinars on the COVID crises to offer a platform for learning and exchange about the current situation, hopefully resulting in informed opinions and insights in how to respond best to the turmoil the pandemic is creating. We are excited to have the following speakers contributing to the first VCB-N Webinar:
- Barua Kaushik, Country Director, IFAD Cambodia
- Mr. Anirban Bhowmik, Country Director, Swisscontact, Bangladesh
- Prof. Liu Yonggong, China Agricultural University (CAU)
- Mr. Andrew Wilson, Regional Coordinator Market Systems, HELVETAS
Date: 22 April 2020
Time: 14:00 Dhaka time (GMT+6) (15:00 Hanoi time, 16:00 Beijing time)
This webinar is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about what we can do to support agricultural value chains and how to mitigate the impact. We will use Zoom video conferencing software which is free to download. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
*The final list of speakers may still change up until the actual date and time of the webinar.
Please REGISTER HERE