Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: Agricultural livelihoods and food security in the context of COVID-19, Monitoring Report, January 2021

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This report shares the analysis on the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the agri-food system in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela based on the assessment conducted during August–September 2020.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is implementing a project to contribute to data collection and analysis linked to COVID-19 to inform evidence-based programming in selected countries. The objective is to assess the effects of COVID-19 in the agri-food system, which includes livestock and fishing, food supply, livelihoods and food security of the rural population at national level. Information is collected from primary sources of the production process: producer households, traders or marketers, inputs suppliers, extension officers and key informants. The first round of data collection has been completed, with rounds II and III foreseen in 2021.

Key highlights

  • The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak was first detected in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in March 2020. In the context of an already destabilized economy, the COVID-19 preventive measures, although necessary to reduce the contagion rate, have affected the Venezuelan’s agri-food systems in multiple ways.

  • The national agricultural production prospects for 2020 are unfavourable due to the considerable reduction of the planted areas and the low yields. This is due, among other factors, to the shortage of agricultural inputs and fuel, the presence of some pests and the decrease in rainfall in the period from February to April.

  • COVID-19 prevention and containment measures have likely affected the supply and demand of food products, together with other factors considered chronic, such as the lack or high cost of transportation, fuel shortages and inflation. Loss of rural income is the likely result, in particular from a decrease in the sale of agricultural products.

  • The presence of constraints to production and marketing was triangulated by non-representative sources. Among the most frequently mentioned there are the reduced access to the market due to movement restrictions or markets closure, lower-than-usual demand and decreased presence of output buyers.

  • The households most likely to be affected are those involved in subsistence agriculture and especially those most isolated and far from markets.