Joint action on COVID-19 in the food and agriculture sector. The views from the field
To present real views from the field on the effects and challenges posed by Covid-19 on agriculture, FAO discussed with farmers.
The agriculture sector in Europe and Central Asia has demonstrated a stronger resilience compared to other economic segments during the region-wide lockdown introduced in the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Widespread economic downturn, however, has exacerbated the financial vulnerabilities of smallholder farmers, drastically reducing the available sources of income and employment. Combined with the persistent constraints farmers continually face, including worsening climate, environmental degradation and the loss of biodiversity, these challenges are regarded among the most consequential for rural livelihoods and food security situation in the region.
To sustainably address the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic in the food and agriculture sector through up-scaled international collaboration, in line with the UN approach to “build back better,” and in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has developed a comprehensive and holistic COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme focusing on innovative data-driven solutions and responsible investments that protect livelihoods and accelerate the rebuilding and sustainable transformation of our food systems. The Programme identifies six priority areas for joint action aimed at safeguarding the development and resilience of the food and agriculture sector from the socio-economic and environmental challenges the pandemic is triggering in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region, including: 1) Data for decision-making; 2) Economic inclusion and social protection to reduce poverty 3) Trade and food safety standards; 4) Boosting smallholder resilience for recovery; 5) Preventing the next zoonotic pandemic and 6) Food systems transformation.
This Programme was presented at the virtual FAO Regional High-Level Dialogue for Europe and Central Asia on 7 October 2020, bringing together FAO’s current and prospective partners operating across Eastern Europe, Western Balkans, Central Asia and South Caucasus, interested in jointly delivering region-tailored programmatic solutions to the evolving socio-economic and environmental consequences of the global health crisis in the food and agriculture sector. To present the real views from the field on the effects and challenges posed by Covid-19 on agriculture, FAO discussed with smallholder farmers in the Europe and Central Asia region, including from North Macedonia: