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

Written by: Gideon Boniface and Christopher Magomba

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 at the end of 2019, the pandemic has brought both social and economic impacts to global communities, although to varying degrees. Since the onset of the pandemic, different regions have responded in various ways by taking different measures to fight the pandemic and its effects. In Tanzania, the first case was recorded on 16 March 2020 and, to contain the spread of the virus, on 17 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced measures including the closure of all education institutions, the suspension of public gatherings and international passenger flights, and mandatory quarantine for individuals entering Tanzania. However, in June 2020, the government announced the easing of the restrictions after observing a significant decrease in the COVID-19 infection rate and, despite a subsequent ‘second wave’ of the virus, the government declined to re-institute movement restrictions. This decision led to the implementation of non-tariff trade barriers which were imposed on cargo carrying grain and other exports to neighbouring countries, especially Kenya. The situation became so bad that diplomatic intervention had to be sought. In order to understand the resulting socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in Tanzania, data were collected in three waves during mid-July2020, October 2020 and February 2021. This paper presents a synthesis of the results of these three survey rounds.

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