africa's agri business

OLAM’s survey reveals Covid-19’s devastating impact on Africa’s agri-business

Covid-19 has disturbed food suppliers around the world. As per a new survey by Agribusiness Olam International, farmers across the globe are suffering harsh repercussions due to the pandemic.

It is one of the world’s largest suppliers of coffee, cotton, cocoa, and rice.

Olam’s survey covers nearly three and a half thousand farmers and has been conducted across six months in 19 countries. It found that about five out of 10 African farmers saw less demand for their produce.

Furthermore, the survey reveals that around half of all farmers saw crop production reduce and incomes fall. Similarly, about 50% of farmers had to find new ways of generating revenue.

Olam International’s Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Julie Greene, said that seven out of 10 farmers are reporting a reduction in income compared to before the pandemic. 

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“We’ve found that five out of 10 farmers have reported less production. While their situation is slightly less drastic than what they had predicted in our prior survey, it’s still quite notable that Africa is the highest hit region. And about six out of 10 farmers in Africa reported that they are eating less, a less diverse, and a less nutritious diet.”

She said that a lot of that has to do with having less food ready in local markets, being less able to afford food and the food that they have is already spoiled or infested. 

“It is not so much a question of farmers getting ill from the virus. There, of course, is a certain impact in that respect, but the greater impact is on farmers’ access to inputs. Access to affordable seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides was already difficult before the pandemic in many of these rural regions. They are subject to various movement restrictions with the pandemic now, and farmers simply have less income”.