Weathering the pandemic to build back better: Options for supporting agri-food SMEs in low and middle-income countries

Global Alliance from Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

This paper summarises research conducted on the impacts of COVID-19 on LMICs’ food systems. It reviews interventions implemented to support agri-food SMEs, including rapid responses to keep markets working, strategic recovery interventions to build back better, and systemic shifts to facilitate continuous learning and adaptation. The assessment of these interventions highlight a subset that warrant further consideration, presented here as Options for Priority Actors.

This research reveals a bias toward rapid response and strategic recovery interventions, with fewer responses aiming to enable systemic shift. To fill this gap, future interventions can be better designed to probe, listen, and respond to food systems systemically as they continue to adapt, and invite actors from public and private sectors to work alongside one another to support agri-food SMEs in weathering the pandemic and building back better.

In addition to this global paper, there are also two addenda with country-specific analyses for Kenya and Nigeria. Each of these addenda apply the findings of the Global Options Paper to the Kenyan and Nigerian context respectively. They present overviews of how the Nigerian and Kenyan food systems have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, summarise the interventions implemented, identifiy gaps in the response to the crisis, and offer options for priority actors to support agri-food SMEs in Kenya and Nigeria. While the addenda offer a synopsis of the methodology and findings of the Global Options Paper, they are intended to be read as a complement to the Global Options Paper rather than as stand-alone documents. Further, the findings should be viewed as applied analysis, and any findings offered in the addenda should be further validated by field research before being acted upon.

This resource presents evidence or data but has not been peer reviewed