Estimates are saying that at least 45 million people in Southern Africa are food insecure. This marks a pandemic-induced increase of 10% from last year.

The pandemic seems to be making Africa’s problems worse. While already facing a climate crisis, the pandemic has pushed the Southern region’s economy to the brink. This has in turn hurt the country’s food store.

While a loss of employment has affected people’s ability to get food, the pandemic freeze has also affected food production. Farmers struggling to deal with both climate change and pandemic induced problems. Many farmers, especially women, had been severely affected by the virus and its impact on food production.

Women carry bags of maize during a food aid distribution exercise in Mudzi.

“Southern Africa has faced impacts of climate change for the past four years nonstop. I have witnessed the short-lived hope in people’s eyes these past four years when seeds are distributed or exchanged in the hope for a better yield next season. They are disappointed by more climate disasters,” said ActionAid Africa humanitarian advisor, Chikondi Chabvuta.

“COVID-19 is exposing the existing systematic weaknesses of the regional policies meant to develop resilient food security,” said Chabvuta. “This includes reliance on imports for agricultural production for food supply.”

According to aid agencies, the problems are also in the policies. The pandemic has only exposed the weaknesses of regional policies, which would need a generational shift to change.