Studying the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Livelihoods of Smallholder Farmers in Africa


AATIF provides technical assistance to smallholder farmers in strategic value chains in which their investees and pipeline companies operate. KIT was asked to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic affected vulnerable groups in eight value chains across Ivory Coast (cocoa, cashew), Kenya (dairy) and Zambia (maize, wheat, cotton, soybean, sunflower).  

Obtaining an early overview of the effects of the pandemic on smallholder farmers and their incomes will enable KIT and AATIF to design interventions that help vulnerable groups to rebuild stronger and become more resilient in the future.  

Assessing value chains 

For each of the eight value chains, KIT performed a literature review and value chain analysis to understand how COVID-19 – and corresponding measures taken by public or private actors – affected the value chains, particularly farmers. Our team applied a comprehensive market systems framework to allow us to investigate policy and trade context, roles and needs of stakeholders and the enabling environment (e.g. technology, infrastructure, finance, inputs, etc.).  

We conducted key informant interviews and focus group discussions with farmers and relevant local stakeholders. In each country and value chain, the investees of AATIF were the starting point for the research. KIT aimed to assess the depth and length of COVID-19-related effects, the needs of farmers and value chain players, and the appropriate interventions that AATIF and its investees can implement.

To reach feasible and actionable recommendations, KIT studied the supply chain structures and service delivery models of the agribusinesses in AATIF’s reach who already run sustainability programmes and deliver services to smallholder farmers (e.g. finance, inputs, trainings, etc.).  

The results of this project will become available in December 2020 or early 2021, once KIT and AATIF finalise the design of technical assistance measures.