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Exploring Disparate Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic and its Containment Measures on Food Security within Ethiopia

Debalke, Negash Mulatu (2023): Exploring Disparate Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic and its Containment Measures on Food Security within Ethiopia.

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Exploring Disparate Effects of Covid-19 Pandemic _ Negash M.pdf

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Covid-19 affects food security of households through different pathways. Several studies from many developing countries, including Africa, show that the pandemic has had heterogeneous impacts on food security across various groups of households, livelihood options and sectors in the economy. This study aims to examine the trajectory of and potentially differential impacts of the early days of the pandemic on food security, outcome variable, in Ethiopia along households’ location or sectors, ownership of assets and varying livelihoods and income sources. Also, the government’s containment measures such as movement restrictions with-in the country, curfew or lockdown, and closure of non-essential businesses, are the key explanatory and indicator variables in the estimation. Using the World Bank’s nationally representative harmonized panel data on households drawn from the high frequency phone survey (HFPS), the study undertakes fixed effects regression. The results indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic had a statistically significant impact on overall food insecurity in Ethiopia and households have experienced a declining trend in food insecurity along the survey rounds. Within country travel restriction has a statistically significant and heterogeneous impact on the outcome variable, i.e. probability of households’ being moderately/severely food insecure. Households who had rental income sources were significantly exposed to food insecurity due to the pandemic. Moreover, the results identified the significant heterogeneity of the impacts between households with and without receiving remittance and assistance. The finding suggests the important role of social protection in guarding households from deteriorating trajectory of food insecurity during the pandemic in the short term. Overall, the paper determined that mobility restriction, ownership of land, rental income, remittance, and assistance are statistically significant indicators of heterogeneity of the pandemic’s impacts on food security. Finally, it points that the findings of can be used to informing short term and medium-term policy responses and interventions by the government of Ethiopia and international donor organizations.

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