Partner/Donor: FCDO – Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Duration: Aug. 2020 -Feb. 2021
Team lead for Food Security Dashboard feasibility study: Dr Abid Q. Suleri
Team lead for SMEs related work: Dr Vaqar Ahmed
SDPI is currently working with support from Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) to assist the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of National Food Security and Research in assessing COVID-related losses to export-oriented Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with the objective to prepare a crisis management food security plan to cope with the negative effects of COVID-19 on food security and food supply chain.
As literature suggests, 1% decline in global demand leads to 1.2-1.5% decline in Pakistan’s overall exports. The prolonged lockdowns as a result of the pandemic outbreak have impacted exports through disruption in supply chains, border closure to nonessential trade, and limited market for exports due to fall in demand. There is, therefore, a need to arrive at a better understanding of transmission channels through which COVID-19, low global demand, and volatility in oil and energy markets will impact Pakistan’s exports of goods and services and how the government can support SMEs to better deal with the challenges emerging out of the pandemic.
The study includes both the traditional and non-traditional export industries.
Likewise, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research has sought SDPI’s help in preparing a response plan to ensure food security amid various scenarios of smart lockdown, which has the potential to affect the already grim situation of food security and Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) for the continuation of agri-operations to avoid any supply shocks or disruption in food supply chain.
Scope of study
The study will provide an assessment of the data available for setting up a national data facility for essential food commodities vital for achieving food security and maintaining food supply chains across the country to manage supply and demand to avoid any untoward situation.
SOPs for agriculture sector
The study suggests how the safety of people working along the food supply chain from COVID-19 transmission can be ensured. This will guide on setting SOPs on COVID-19 safety which can be adopted by producers and processors.
Intervention – I
- SDPI’s own work hints at balancing interventions (e.g. through fiscal stimulus) across small, medium, and large exporters and make special provisions for new and potential exporters. COVID-19 crisis provides an opportunity to rethink current structure of incentives and design response in a manner that not only promotes level playing field but also helps spur innovation.
- We expect that evidence-based suggestions to refine response, relief, and recovery for trade sector could result in improved knowledge available with the Ministry of Commerce; help feed in to any changes to existing trade, tariff, and investment policies; and support changes in export promotion strategies, including trade diplomacy.
- The objective of our research, outreach, and policy engagement is to strengthen both demand-and supply-side. In the interest of strengthening public accountability, we will present our draft findings to members of parliament’s Standing Committees on Commerce and Industries. The goal is to sensitize them regarding pressure on current trade eco-system and future priorities.
- Production of a detailed study on the structure for central data facility: It aims to analyze and monitor food supplies and demands to better support policymakers about food shortages, bottlenecks in logistics and controlling food prices. The aim is to compile list of indicators on which data is available which could inform on stocks, needs and future requirements at the district level. It will provide government with much needed information about supply and demand as well as whistle blowing threshold.
- Study on rapid needs assessment for a select crop system: This will help prepare SoPs for producers and processors. For sustained agricultural production, it would be essential to prepare and train producers as well as processors on how to use procedures without jeopardizing their lives and livelihoods. This assessment will also help design future awareness campaigns to minimize disinformation about food shortages.