Desperate Situations sometimes require desperate solutions. For Africa, the COVID-19 pandemic requires quality thinking and actions beyond the ordinary, ritualistic or business-as-usual. The pattern of spread of the pandemic, the surge, the sustained presence and severity of impacts will not be exactly the same as in more developed countries. Statistics might be a major hurdle in the handling of the affliction, its effects and the aftershock.
Within the context of food security, this aftershock will vary also in magnitude, distribution and duration from one country to another, depending on the strength or weaknesses of available institutional frameworks, wealth and political leadership.
Africa is at the cusp of chaos, one which it may either manage well or very poorly. The outcome of the handling of the crisis and the quality of response to the disaster will determine whether Africa will sink or soar. For a continent that is a net importer of food, the immediate concern will revolve around food in terms of sustainability of supply, prices, access, quality and affordability. To reduce the pressure on food supply, immediate and far-reaching efforts need to be in place to ensure abundant food production. These would require all-encompassing efforts that would be suitable to specific agro-ecological zones, national requirements and global realities. These will have to take into consideration the peculiarities of the continent in demography, economy and polity.
While the responses of governments in advanced economies will require interventions in commercial and mechanised operations of various sizes and operational complexities, those of Africa will require interventions mostly suited to smallholders, fewer mid-size or fairly large operations. The levels of sophistication of supply chains and value chains value chains between Africa and the industrialised countries vary widely. Read more…