Covid-19: In Togo, the pandemic has little impact on food security

Tuesday, 07 July 2020 03:58
Covid-19: In Togo, the pandemic has little impact on food security

(Togo First) - So far, Togo is relatively spared by the Covid-19 pandemic, with little impact on the country’s agricultural output and food security. This was disclosed in a country note recently released by the general directorate of the French treasury. 

The document highlights the steps taken by the Togolese government to rapidly contain the outbreak; the country's important grain reserves, as well as its status as a fruit exporter. All these, according to the French treasury, protect Togo from experiencing food insecurity induced by the pandemic.

Rapid measures

On June 11, 2020, Togo had 524 active Covid-19 cases (62 cases per million citizens), 13 deaths, 271 recoveries, and about 2,900 tests per million citizens. These were among the best rates across the region. There was also the Novissi program which aimed to support the poorest households by cash transfers every month throughout the emergency state. 

Indeed, the country has 70,000 tons of grains stocked (about 10 kg per citizen) that are managed by the national agency for food security (ANSAT); and an additional reserve of 5,000 tons of other food products. 

Meanwhile, the ministry of agriculture recently launched its very own response to the Covid-19. The latter integrates various actions aimed at supporting farmers towards boosting the country’s output for this year. 

Preserving the poorest people and the business climate

Lower imports, inflation in the prices of some products, and an overall reduction of households’ stocks are the main repercussions of the pandemic. However, beyond the economy slowing down and pressure on businesses and consumers, the lasting effects of the pandemic were mitigated by the government’s rapid action to protect the poorest populations and the business climate as a whole. 

Informal transport routes: Blessing or curse? 

From March to May, all Togolese borders were shut and some cities were placed under lockdown. Still, people and goods were coming in and going out of the country as new transportation routes were found. 

“Informal transportation networks across borders reorganized themselves. Major road axes and police roadblocks are bypassed via routes that connect various goods rallying points, using bikes, bicycles, pirogues, or by foot.” 

While this has sustained goods transportation in the country (outside of official circuits), it has nonetheless caused the number of Covid-19 cases recorded by Togo to rise (especially cases coming from Ghana and going to the northern part of the country). 

It is now time to reopen the economy and gradually return to normalcy. A return that is impaired by the recent peak in infections after a period of stability. Regardless, the numbers registered in Togo are far below that of its neighbors. 

Ayi Renaud Dossavi

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