Response and resilience of Asian agrifood systems to COVID-19: an assessment across twenty-five countries and four regional farming and food systems

Dixon, John M. and Weerahewa, Jeevika and Hellin, Jon and Rola-Rubzen, Maria Fay and Huang, Jikun and Kumar, Shalander and Das, Anup and Qureshi, Muhammad Ejaz and Krupnik, Timothy J. and Shideed, Kamil and Jat, Mangi L. and Prasad, P. V. Vara and Yadav, Sudhir and Irshad, Aamer and Asanaliev, Abdybek and Abugalieva, Aigul and Karimov, Aziz and Bhattarai, Basundhara and Balgos, Carol Q. and Benu, Fred and Ehara, Hiroshi and Pant, Jharendu and Sarmiento, Jon M. P. and Newby, Jonathan C. and Pretty, Jules and Tokuda, Hiromi and Weyerhaeuser, Horst and Digal, Larry N. and Li, Lingling and Sarkar, Md. Abdur Rouf and Abedin, Md. Zihadul and Schreinemachers, Pepijn and Grafton, Quentin and Sharma, Ram C. and Saidzoda, Saidjamol and Lopez-Ridaura, Santiago and Coffey, Shaun and Kam, Suan Pheng and Win, Su Su and Praneetvatakul, Suwanna and Maraseni, Tek and Touch, Van and Liang, Wei-li and Saharawat, Yashpan Singh and Timsina, Jagdish (2021) Response and resilience of Asian agrifood systems to COVID-19: an assessment across twenty-five countries and four regional farming and food systems. Agricultural Systems, 193:103168. pp. 1-19. ISSN 0308-521X


Abstract

Context: The COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting health and economies across the world, although the nature of direct and indirect effects on Asian agrifood systems and food security has not yet been well understood.

Objectives: This paper assesses the initial responses of major farming and food systems to COVID-19 in 25 Asian countries, and considers the implications for resilience, food and nutrition security and recovery policies by the governments.

Methods: A conceptual systems model was specified including key pathways linking the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 to the resilience and performance of the four principal Asian farming and food systems, viz, lowland rice based; irrigated wheat based; hill mixed; and dryland mixed systems. Based on this framework, a systematic survey of 2504 key informants (4% policy makers, 6% researchers or University staff, 6% extension workers, 65% farmers, and 19% others) in 20 Asian countries was conducted and the results assessed and analysed.

Results and conclusion: The principal Asian farming and food systems were moderately resilient to COVID-19, reinforced by government policies in many countries that prioritized food availability and affordability. Rural livelihoods and food security were affected primarily because of disruptions to local labour markets (especially for off-farm work), farm produce markets (notably for perishable foods) and input supply chains (i.e., seeds and fertilisers). The overall effects on system performance were most severe in the irrigated wheat based system and least severe in the hill mixed system, associated in the latter case with greater resilience and diversification and less dependence on external inputs and long market chains. Farming and food systems' resilience and sustain-ability are critical considerations for recovery policies and programmes, especially in relation to economic performance that initially recovered more slowly than productivity, natural resources status and social capital. Overall, the resilience of Asian farming and food systems was strong because of inherent systems characteristics reinforced by public policies that prioritized staple food production and distribution as well as complementary welfare programmes. With the substantial risks to plant- and animal-sourced food supplies from future zoonoses and the institutional vulnerabilities revealed by COVID-19, efforts to improve resilience should be central to recovery programmes.

Significance: This study was the first Asia-wide systems assessment of the effects of COVID-19 on agriculture and food systems, differentiating the effects of the pandemic across the four principal regional farming and food systems in the region.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2021 05:15
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2021 05:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: resilience; agrifood-systems; COVID-19; gender; markets; policy
Fields of Research (2008): 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
Fields of Research (2020): 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300202 Agricultural land management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961003 Natural Hazards in Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1904 Natural hazards > 190499 Natural hazards not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2021.103168
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42490

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