The United Nations World Food Programme has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic will see more than a quarter of a billion people suffering acute hunger by the end of the year.
People living in rural areas are likely to be the hardest hit due to a lack of resources and interruption to food security.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialised agency of the United Nations, warns that the spread of illness like Covid-19 can devastate poor rural communities and small-scale food producers who already face challenges such as weak resilience, poor nutrition and limited access to resources and services.
According to IFAD, about 63% of the world’s poorest people work in agriculture and the overwhelming majority on small farms. It also says most of the poorest, hungriest and most marginalised people live in rural areas.
“Since this lockdown, we can’t find customers. They can’t come to us and we can’t go to them. Aaaaowaaa…we would be in trouble if this lockdown continues. People will starve,” says Thomas Malejane.
“Shortage of fertilisers, veterinary medicines and other input could affect agricultural production. More broadly, the crisis is expected to have profound effects on the global economy, which will certainly affect small-scale rural producers on a much broader scale.” IFAD
“This food came when I had lost hope. I am going to have something to eat for a few more days and I am grateful. I hope these children can help others like me who are suffering.” Ramadimetja Thobejane
“The food is not much. But without the little that we give to the families the suffering would be even greater.” Tokelo Mahlakoana.