The University of Pretoria (UP) is part of a new three country study of “The Impacts of COVID-19 Responses on the Political Economy of African Food Systems”. The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) funded project is led by the University of the Western Cape and also involves Ardhi University in Tanzania and the University of Ghana. The UP work in this project is led by Dr. Marc Wegerif from the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology. The UP team, including Development Studies PHD and Masters students, will carry out field research in food markets and with farmers in Gauteng and Limpopo Provinces as well as coordinating the research in Tanzania.
Food systems in Africa were already under pressure and contested spaces before the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 and responses to it are now delivering new shocks, impacting demand and supply in ways not yet well understood. Some of the impacts could be long-term - there will certainly be winners and losers - and an additional 132 million people worldwide may be left undernourished, according to the 2020 report on the “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World”.
This project involves action-oriented research that will gather information on the impacts of Covid-19 interventions in Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa. Research outputs will include academic publications and also be packaged for policy and advocacy interventions to inform policy and other actions to enhance food system resilience, food security and equity.
A launch webinar for the project had speakers from each of the three countries and focused on women, Covid-19 and food systems in Africa (follow this link to watch the webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahm8GkyUGVI&t=157s). The project will continue to organize such debates and share findings publicly in other ways throughout its implementation.