On 12th May, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, received a written answer from Baroness Sugg on a question about the impact of COVID-19 on food security in Africa.
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: HL3567 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security in Africa.
Baroness Sugg: COVID-19 is exacerbating an already negative trend, with a high and increasing baseline of chronic food insecurity being further driven by drought, conflict, and locusts and other shocks. Immediate harvest prospects are favourable in some countries and for some commodities, but distribution is a challenge in many vulnerable areas, even at the best of times. COVID-19 related disruptions to supply chains threaten price rises at the same time as secondary impacts are dramatically reducing the purchasing power of the poor and of farmers who cannot afford inputs for the next planting season. To tackle the factors driving COVID-19 induced food insecurity, the UK is repurposing programmes in agriculture, social protection and humanitarian assistance, for example, our bilateral Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness and multilateral Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. In all of these we continue to put the poorest and most marginalised at the heart of our programmes to address the underlying causes of chronic hunger.