A Multi-Phase Assessment of the Effects of COVID-19 on Food Systems and Rural Livelihoods in Kenya

Written by: John Olwande, Milton Ayieko, John Mukundi and Nicholas Odhiambo

Kenya confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on 12 March 2020. Like many governments across the world, the Kenyan government implemented various measures aimed at slowing down local spread of the virus and cushioning the population against the negative economic effects of the pandemic and the associated policy restrictions. International organisations and researchers postulated that the measures would negatively affect economic activities and livelihoods, with undesirable implications for poverty and food insecurity. Particularly vulnerable would be populations in developing countries such as Kenya, where many people depend on food systems for their livelihoods, and the majority of those are smallholder farmers who often have low economic power. The objective of this rapid assessment was to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the food system and the sub-set of the population largely dependent on agriculture in Kenya to inform actions that can assure protection of rural livelihoods and continued access to adequate and affordable food of acceptable quality to the population. This report presents results of that rapid assessment.

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