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KNOWLEDGE FOR POLICY

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Publication | 2022

Inside Zambia's ‘new normal:’ COVID-19 policy responses and implications for peri-urban food security and livelihoods

This paper explores COVID-19 policy responses and experiences of their impact on food systems and livelihoods, and other factors shaping vulnerability among peri-urban small-scale farmers in Zambia. We draw on household surveys and case studies, multi-level interviews and group discussions to make sense of ‘new normal’ policy (in)action and its (in) effectiveness in shaping peri-urban production, market linkages and livelihoods during the pandemic. Results show COVID-19 policy responses affected peri-urban production supply and demand for food and inputs. The ‘new normal’ policy responses aimed at striking a balance between health concerns and economic development as a pathway to recovery have not been followed by systematic peri-urban agriculture support, leading to failure to stimulate production and drive urban market linkages, including supermarkets. Findings bring nuance to fragilities in national food systems and the need for long-term and transformative interventions that can strengthen peri-urban agriculture and livelihoods beyond the pandemic.