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Essential non‐essentials: COVID‐19 policy missteps in Nigeria rooted in persistent myths about African food supply chains

Food supply chains are extremely important for food access and livelihoods across Africa, but their role is often overlooked and underappreciated. Under normal conditions, the gap between myth and reality can result in the design of policies and programs with limited or negative impacts on food security and welfare. The shock of COVID‐19 has heightened this disconnect, with potentially dire consequences for food security.

Covid‐19 and global food security

Covid‐19 has major implications for global food security. The virus itself and the policy reactions have triggered a massive recession and major disruptions in food value chains. The combination of both has been dramatic for the food and nutrition security of billions of poor people around the world. The impacts are heterogeneous, depending on the nature of the commodity, the resource‐intensity of the food systems, and the level of economic development. Covid‐19 affects the food security and nutrition of poor people more strongly than that of richer people.

Policy options for mitigating impacts of COVID-19 on domestic rice value chains and food security in West Africa

Rice plays a strategic role in food security in West Africa. However, the region increasingly relies on rice imports due to a growing and structural deficit, and domestic value chains face constraints in technology, finance and coordination. As a result, West Africa is very vulnerable to international and local trade disruptions, such as the ones currently inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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