ActionAid, Bangladesh on Friday urged the government to prioritise investment in sustainable, climate-resilient local food systems as part of Covid-19 recovery plans.
In a statement, Catherine Gutundu, ActionAid’s head of resilient livelihoods and climate justice, said around the world, Covid-19 has left women farmers indebted and hungry. Many of them now can’t afford to plant for the next season.
“A dangerous spiral of increasing hunger and poverty could set in unless governments urgently increase their support to family farmers now,” Gutundu added.
Catherine Gutundu also said women already on the frontlines of the climate crisis are bearing the brunt of rising hunger due to Covid-19 as they skip meals so that their children can eat and face rising levels of gender-based violence.
Early findings from ActionAid research into how measures to control Covid-19 are affecting the lives of women smallholder farmers across 14 countries in Africa and Asia*, show how market closures, travel restrictions and soaring food prices are negatively affecting rural communities and jeopardising the next planting season.
The summary report, based on a survey of 190 women farmers and local leaders in September, finds: Covid-19 related market closures and lockdowns have severely affected earnings and food security. 83% of women farmers reported a loss of livelihoods during the pandemic, with 65% saying they are experiencing food shortages.
More than half of women said their unpaid care and domestic work has increased during the pandemic. ActionAid also called on governments to bailout women farmers ahead of the next planting season to avert a Covid-induced food crisis.