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Researching the impacts of the Ukraine war to inform food security policies in Africa

In collaboration with Global Affairs Canada, IDRC is supporting the generation of actionable evidence for innovative national and international responses to the effects of the war in Ukraine on food security in Africa.
Ugandan women farmers sit in a meeting with researchers.
Focus group discussion with chicken farmers in Kalama, Kenya

The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have disrupted global trade and supply chains and deepened poverty and gender inequalities, especially for already vulnerable and marginalized populations in low-income countries. The ongoing war in Ukraine has compounded these challenges through worldwide increases in the cost of grains, oil, energy and fertilizers.

A CAD2.7 million investment will support grounded analyses of how external shocks impact local communities and national economies with a view to informing policies for recovery and greater resilience to future disruptions. 

Led by Cowater International, the first strand of research explores the impact of commodity and food-price shocks on agro-pastoralists and farmers in selected countries of focus, for the Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises initiative. It is a household-level analysis of the impacts of changes in food, fuel and fertilizer prices, including coping mechanisms. 

A second strand of research on the macro-economic impacts of the Ukraine war in Africa will complement this analysis. Three economic policy research networks based in Africa are leading this second strand: the African Economic Research Consortium, the Economic Research Forum and the Partnership for Economic Policy. The UK-based think tank ODI is supporting the translation of research into actionable evidence and is building connections with policymakers internationally. 

Increases in food prices have a disproportionate impact on most people living in low-income countries because they spend a large share of their income on food. Price increases also affect humanitarian efforts for people whose food security is at risk due to drought, conflict and displacement. The pandemic, climate change and the war have stretched the capacity of people, governments and relief organizations to absorb price shocks and market disruptions, making it crucial to generate evidence that can inform the policies of African governments and the international community.