Seed Systems Group’s (SSG’s) unwavering commitment to assisting over 38 million small-holder farmers in the furthest reaches of Africa is affirmed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant disruption of food production and supply chains caused by restricted movements and social distancing, affecting access to local markets and availability of labor.
Cooperation and collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), governments, public health services, and epidemiologists is imperative in stemming the spread of COVID-19 itself. Like all agricultural agencies around the world, SSG’s work has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including a temporary ban on all international flights. Several of our target countries have experienced steep increases in infections. Our thoughts and prayers are with these populations as they confront the pandemic.
Concrete efforts must be geared towards mitigating COVID-19 from exacerbating already-high levels of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in these agriculture-dependent countries, which are home to over 320 million people yet are left-behind in Africa’s emerging agricultural transformation.
Unlike farmers in nearly every other country in the world, farmers in the SSG’s target counties lack access to high-yielding seed and other modern farming technologies which allow farmers to adequately feed themselves and produce surpluses to generate income. Agricultural systems in these target countries are already vulnerable and any disruption to local production cycles is likely to result in acute food shortages.
SSG calls upon partners to work together in building sustainable and resilient agricultural systems that can weather crises precipitated by climate change and other socio-economic challenges of our time to avert severe hunger and poverty. A food secure Africa is possible in our lifetime!