The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading rapidly and has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, meaning it is prevalent all over the world, endangering the health and the lives of hundreds of millions of people. In an attempt to control the spreading of the disease, entire cities and countries have been shut-down, affecting daily activities.
While we are aware this crisis will eventually retreat, it is not possible to predict how long different restrictions will be in place for. In order to mitigate the risks of a looming food crisis, measures need to be employed to protect vulnerable food producing communities, keep global food supply chains alive, and mitigate the effects of this pandemic across the agri-food system.
When a global issue arises, a global response is necessary. GFRAS is particularly focused on maintaining food availability for people under home quarantine so the pandemic is not aggravated by a food supply crises and/or a food price crises. At the same time GFRAS is concerned about how to protect smallholder farmers while securing their livelihood. Rural Advisory Services and inputs to farmers is heavily affected by COVID-19 and government-placed safety measures. This, in turn, affects the ability to get current harvests to markets and to secure the next cropping season. .
Through this section of its website, GFRAS provides information and evidence to help understand and mitigate those threats. Information is divided into three categories:
- Technical information on how to promote and move towards e-extension;
- A platform for sharing initiatives and recommendations around the globe on how to keep agricultural production functioning and delivering during the lockdown. This initiative is called “When no global, go local - how to ensure food security during the COVID-19 pandemic by reinventing value chains”;
- Practical information for extensionists, rural service providers and farmers on how to protect themselves while carrying out their job.