Skip to main content
A woman farming with her baby in her arms

Right to Food, Farmers’ Rights & COVID-19

Policy priorities and a call to action


This ActionAid International policy document has been developed to help identify the impacts of the COVID–19 pandemic and responses by governments and intergovernmental agencies on different food systems at different level of society. It looks at the most marginalised and at-risk segments of society, especially food providers and smallholder farmers, women, girls, minority groups and indigenous communities. It also provides an insight into policy priorities and potential alternatives in the post COVID-19 world.

Our analysis shows the need for proactive and speedy action to deal with emerging food security concerns in the short, medium and long term. Interventions must ensure the right to food for
all and must protect the rights of small-scale food producers, particularly women, and farm and migrant workers, who are so vital to the food production and consumption matrix. It is intended to elicit action from duty bearers and other actors to support livelihoods of smallholder food producers, while safeguarding their ability to produce and access markets.

This analysis builds on ongoing work carried out by ActionAid in collaboration with partner organizations to gather information from several countries on the impact of COVID-19 on small scale food producers and other marginalised people’s right to food and nutritional security. ActionAid also plans to track the alternatives that small scale food producers are putting in place to cope with the crisis, along with initiatives undertaken by governments that support or hinder small holder farmers’ producers’ capacity to cope with the effects of COVID-19. This ongoing monitoring exercise will keep this policy document alive, with updates on the situation as the pandemic evolves, and responses that work to enhance or undermine the human right to food and nutrition security.