CGIAR COVID Hub Focus: Addressing Value Chain Fractures


Keeping agricultural value chains functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic is critically important for supplying nutritious, affordable food to urban and rural consumers and maintaining livelihoods for the women and men engaged in farming and other jobs along value chains.

CGIAR researchers are working to fill critical gaps that currently exist in understanding the effects of the pandemic on value chains in low- and middle-income countries, focusing on immediate needs to improve food availability and accessibility through well-functioning value chains, both formal and informal. This work concentrates on "major" value chains, whether for food consumption (especially nutritious, perishable foods) or for livelihoods (such as rubber, coffee, cocoa, or fuelwood) and pays attention to differences in types of value chain, from short to long, informal to formal, and local to regional.

Read the January 2021 brief, "Analytical Framework for Addressing Value Chain Fractures"

Indeed, this work builds on research already being conducted within CGIAR research programs to test innovations to strengthen efficiency and inclusion in value chains and existing tracking of government responses by CGIAR and other organizations, such as the COVID-19 Policy Response Portal, and will contribute to decisions on policies, programs, and other investments by:

  1. Analyzing the effects of COVID-19 and government responses to the pandemic on important food and agricultural value chains and identifying potential mitigation actions (particularly important for nutritious foods, which are often perishable and therefore require more care at specific points in time, rapid movement through value chains and sometime depend on migrant labor that may be restricted under COVID-19);
  2. Analyzing the effectiveness of select value chain innovations (e.g. post-harvest storage technologies and digital products) on value chain performance during the pandemic, building on existing baseline studies and partnerships; and
  3. Identifying actionable strategy, policy and investment options to enhance food production and value chain operations, by using ex ante modeling to estimate both the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 and alternative policy options.

As a result of efforts in this area, researchers are developing case studies and syntheses that deliver insights to governments, international organizations, NGOs, the private sector and other research organizations on how COVID-19 and different government health and economic policy responses have affected different types of value chains, at particular points in those value chains. To complement these insights, they are preparing research-based strategy, policy, and investment options for restoring agriculture/food value chains during the pandemic, tailored to specific value chain and country contexts, and working with implementing partners to analyze how promising value chain innovations have mitigated the effects of COVID-19 and government pandemic control measures and identify innovations adapted for different contexts and present options for scaling up.

Members of the working group Addressing Value Chain Fractures include:

Research in this area targets goals outlined in the Food Systems research pillar of the CGIAR COVID-19 Hub. Learn more about CGIAR work on COVID-19 here or by contacting us at


Recent work on addressing value chain fractures from across CGIAR:

Working Paper: Food Marketing Margins During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Vegetables in Ethiopia

Based on primary data in Ethiopia collected just before the start and a few months into the pandemic, researchers at IFPRI assess changes in farm and consumer prices of four major vegetables and the contribution of different segments of the rural-urban value chain in urban retail price formation.

Read the paper (PDF 556KB)

News: Gauging the Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Farming Communities and Agribusinesses in Nepal

A survey conducted by researchers from CIMMYT collected insights from over 200 key value-chain market actors. Insights include finding that access to seeds and fertilizer have been significant problems for farmers.

Read the story

Report: Impacts of COVID Control Measures on Food Safety in East Africa

Using data collected through telephone and online interviews with food safety experts, researchers at ILRI found that the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent control measures, including restriction of movement and dusk-to-dawn curfews, disrupted various food supply chains.

Read the report.

Book: COVID-19 and Global Food Security

This book brings together a groundbreaking series of IFPRI blog posts looking at the impacts of COVID-19 and the policy responses. IFPRI researchers and guest bloggers provide key insights and analysis on how the global pandemic is affecting global poverty and food security and nutrition, food trade and supply chains, gender, employment, and a variety of policy interventions, as well as reflections on how we can use these lessons to better prepare for future pandemics.

Explore the book (PDF 12.37MB)

Project Paper: Monitoring the Impact of COVID-19 in Myanmar: Agricultural Commodity Traders

Crop traders comprise the mid-stream of Myanmar’s food supply chain, forming important links between farms and food processors, exporters, commodity exchange centers, and urban food markets. This is part of a series of notes from IFPRI researchers presenting results from phones surveys tracking a sample of crop traders across Myanmar.

Learn about the series (PDF 242KB)

Policy Seminar: How Food Businesses Are Coping with COVID-19

There is growing concern that this global health crisis could morph into a food crisis, putting hundreds of millions of people at a risk of hunger. This IFPRI virtual event explored how food businesses are functioning during the pandemic and what might happen in its aftermath.

View the event

Webinar: Impacts of COVID-19 on Seafood Value Chains

Aquatic foods play an important role in our food systems, contributing significantly to food and nutrition security and livelihoods. In this seminar, authors of a new framework study discussed their results based of the first five months of COVID-19-related disruptions, impacts, and the adaptive responses, combined with lessons from past shocks, that could be considered when building resilience in aquatic food systems production and value chains.

Watch the webinar

Op-Ed: Covid Crisis Has Shown India’s Food Policy Must Have Buffer Stocks at Community Level Too

Researchers from ICRISAT and IFPRI explore the role of policy, technology, and the workforce in addressing gaps in food value chains as lockdown restrictions in India ease.

Read their commentary

Policy Seminar: Transforming Food Systems for Affordable, Healthy and Sustainable Diets for All

In this virtual event from IFPRI and FAO North America, key findings of the 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report were discussed in light challenges of rising hunger and COVID-19.

View the event

Project Paper: Monitoring the Impact of COVID-19 in Myanmar: Urban Food Retailers

Because of the importance of traditional retail outlets in the last mile delivery of a wide variety of foods to consumers, any challenges they encounter from the COVID-19 crisis and corresponding policy responses to contain the virus have important implications for food availability and affordability. This policy note from researchers at IFPRI is the first in a series presenting results from rounds of a telephone survey of a sample of food retail shop owners or managers in the two largest cities in Myanmar, Yangon and Mandalay.

Learn more about this work (PDF 230KB)

Field Note: Bangladesh in Times of COVID-19. Impacts on Aquaculture and Fisheries

In this blog, an expert panel convened by WorldFish discusses COVID-19 impacts on the fish supply chain in Bangladesh, and options for aiding their recovery.

Read their conversation

Study: Assessing COVID’s Impacts on Poor Urban Consumers in Africa

A joint study between the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT and Twiga Foods analyzed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the consumption of nutritious foods, food security and diets of residents of the Kibera and Mathare slums as well as middle-income residents in Nairobi, Kenya.

Read about the study (PDF 6.5MB)