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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

COVID-19: From health crises to food security anxiety and policy implications

Chiwona-Karltun, Linley; Amuakwa-Mensah, Franklin; Wamala-Larsson, Caroline; Amuakwa-Mensah, Salome; Abu Hatab, Assem; Made, Nolwandle; Taremwa, Nathan Kanuma; Melyoki, Lemayon; Rutashobya, Lettice Kinunda; Madonsela, Thulisile; Lourens, Marna; Stone, Wendy; Bizoza, Alfred R.


Like the rest of the world, African countries are reeling from the health, economic and social effects of COVID-19. The continent's governments have responded by imposing rigorous lockdowns to limit the spread of the virus. The various lockdown measures are undermining food security, because stay at home orders have among others, threatened food production for a continent that relies heavily on agriculture as the bedrock of the economy. This article draws on quantitative data collected by the GeoPoll, and, from these data, assesses the effect of concern about the local spread and economic impact of COVID-19 on food worries. Qualitative data comprising 12 countries south of the Sahara reveal that lockdowns have created anxiety over food security as a health, economic and human rights/well-being issue. By applying a probit model, we find that concern about the local spread of COVID-19 and economic impact of the virus increases the probability of food worries. Governments have responded with various efforts to support the neediest. By evaluating the various policies rolled out we advocate for a feminist economics approach that necessitates greater use of data analytics to predict the likely impacts of intended regulatory relief responses during the recovery process and post-COVID-19.


COVID-19; Feminist economics; Food security; Policy; Social protection; Sub-Saharan Africa

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2021, Volume: 50, number: 4, pages: 794-811

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
      SDG2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
      SDG16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Other Agricultural Sciences not elsewhere specified
      Agricultural Science

      Publication identifier


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