African women in agribusiness want their governments and the international community to move fast and cushion them against the effects of COVID-19.

The women, under the umbrella of the African Women in Agribusiness Network, a Nairobi-based non-profit organisation for women and youth in agribusiness, say measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus have affected their businesses and denied them their livelihoods.

From the fisheries industry to smallholder farmers, COVID-19 has disrupted value chains as governments put in place lockdown measures aimed at curbing the spread of virus.

Lily is an agribusiness entrepreneur from Zambia.

“The situation is the same across the continent, with the World Bank predicting that Africa’s agricultural sector will shed 7% in productivity,” says Lilly.

Asmara, a businesswoman in Ethiopia, says the IFAD issued warnings that rural people will be hugely hit.

“The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has warned that rural people, many of whom work on small-scale farms, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the crisis. AWAN Afrika is now calling on the international community to help smallholder farmers in Africa build resilience post-COVID-19,” explains Asmara.