Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: Perceived risks, management strategies and emerging opportunities for small and medium agri-food enterprises in a developing country

Abu Hatab, Assem; Owusu-Sekyereb, Enoch; Esmat, Abou-Rehab; Lagerkvist, Carl-Johan


The Covid-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to small- and medium-sized agri- food enterprises (SMAEs) in developing countries. However, research investigating what risks Covid-19 posed to these firms, how they responded, and what business opportunities emerged to SMAEs from the pandemic remains scanty. Drawing on a sample of 166 specialist SMAEs in Egypt, this study addressed these entwined questions by using multiple indicators and multiple causes (MIMIC) and mediation analysis. Our results point out that the Covid-19 pandemic ex- posed Egyptian SMAEs to complex and multidimensional risks, and caused profound effects on both upstream and downstream stages of their supply chains. In general, Egyptian SMAEs adopted a 'wait -and -see' approach to cope with such Covid-19 risks and impacts, which was at- tributed to their lack of sufficient financial resources to develop risk management strategies and formalize structures to deal with unexpected events. Interestingly, the results showed that several business opportunities emerged from pandemic; but SMAEs' resource disadvantages constrained their capacity to seize and exploit these opportunities. Moreover, we found that mitigation strate- gies adopted by SMAEs present a mediating factor between perceived Covid-19 risks and per- ceived business opportunities. Overall, our findings call for a paradigm shift in relation to enter- prise risk management in developing countries' SMAEs toward more holistic frameworks to en- hance their preparedness to future shocks, make mature operational and strategic management decisions, and exploit strategic opportunities.


Covid-19 pandemic; SMEs; Mitigation strategies; MIMIC model; Mediation analysis

Published in

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
2023, Volume: 97, article number: 104045
Publisher: ELSEVIER

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG2 Zero hunger
      SDG8 Decent work and economic growth

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Business Administration

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)