Technical report

COVID-19 and food systems in the Indo-Pacific: An assessment of vulnerabilities, impacts and opportunities for action

Date released
10 November 2020
Publication Code

Lisa Robins, Steven Crimp, Monica van Wensveen, Robyn G. Alders, R. Michael Bourke, James Butler, Michaela Cosijn, Federico Davila, Aparna Lal, John F. McCarthy, Andrew McWilliam, Anton Simon M. Palo, Nicholas Thomson, Peter Warr and Michael Webb


Emergency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have had dramatic impacts in the Indo-Pacific region. The COVID-19 shock has reverberated through food systems since its onset in early 2020, exposing and amplifying existing vulnerabilities. Smallholder farmers and fishers have had to react deftly and creatively as the situation unfolds, responding within the constraints of their local circumstances. Women, girls and other vulnerable groups have been hardest hit.

This report presents the results of a study that examined the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems. It provides a basis for planning future research and development to support food systems resilience in the Indo-Pacific region, primarily from the perspective of smallholder farmers and fishers.

The study comprised five assessments, focusing on the first six months of the pandemic (January–July 2020) in Indonesia, seven Pacific island countries, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Timor-Leste. Special attention was paid to identifying opportunities for action through research and development investments that might strengthen the resilience of food systems to future shocks.

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