Mozambique: ensuring food security during and after the COVID-19 crisis
COVID-19 causes devastating economic damage all over the world. Developing countries like Mozambique are even more affected. This is because the south-east African country is dependent on income from exports of raw material, tourism and remittances from emigrants. This background poses many challenges for the "Programme for Food Security through Climate Adaptation and Resilience", which Swisscontact is implementing in Mozambique.
The primary aim of the FAR ("Food Security through climate adaptation and resilience") programme is to improve food security in Mozambique and its crisis resilience. In view of the new reality, this objective is all the more important; no one knows who will cultivate the fields, whether harvests will be lost and whether there will be a food shortage. In mid-April, the UN World Food Programme warned: "The number of people facing acute food insecurity […] stands to rise to 265 million in 2020, up by 130 million from the 135 million in 2019, as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19”.
Swisscontact is implementing the programme with strong partner organisations on the ground. This will enable the programme to react quickly to mitigate the various effects of the crisis on food production and to adapt to new challenges.
Supporting farmers to continue production
The team has developed measures to support the producers to continue their activities, such as the continued cultivation of vegetables. Direct and indirect support is available through partner organisations and a close-knit network of lead farmers, local field facilitators who advise in the agricultural sector and trade in agricultural products. This network was built during the first two years of the programme. It now allows farmers to be supported and advised temporarily via WhatsApp, phone and by sending out brochures and guides. Another advantage that these networks offer is that they can be used not only to pass on agricultural knowledge but also to inform farming communities about measures to combat COVID-19.
Systemic approach - also in times of crisis
The FAR programme uses a systemic approach to improving food security. This is relevant not only in "normal" times but especially in times of crisis. It emphasises the importance of taking market dynamics and trends into account when providing support to restore the livelihoods and businesses affected by the crisis. Swisscontact considers it important not to disrupt market incentives for producers and partners. They are essential for a timely economic recovery after the crisis.
The FAR programme is financed by the Swedish Embassy and implemented by Swisscontact in collaboration with several local partner organisations.