COVID19 and the Food Supply Chain: Restoring markets in Mutare

July 24, 2020

Vendor at a food market in Mutare, Zimbabwe

CARE and UNDP Zimbabwe are partnering to support safe and fully functional food supply chains in the City of Mutare.  The $150,000 project will improve food supply by restoring infrastructure at informal markets to endure the impact of current and future shocks such as the coronavirus pandemic.

Informal markets and vending sites form a significant part of the local food supply chain and it is estimated that they are responsible for the distribution of 90% of smallholder farmers’ produce.  In March 2020, the Government of Zimbabwe initiated a countrywide lockdown which resulted in the closure of  mass markets and vending sites to help stop the spread of COVID19. As a result, the food supply chain has been disrupted posing a significant threat to national food security. In addition, the closure of markets has caused farmers to experience produce loss, and vendors and retailers to lose their source of income.

To ensure uninterrupted food supply during and after the pandemic the partnership between CARE and UNDP Zimbabwe will focus on:

  • Constructing safe markets and vendor stalls equipped with infrastructure which will help reduce the spread of COVID19 and other re-occurring water-borne diseases, such as cholera and typhoid.
  • Increasing community awareness on COVID19 and how to prevent its spread. Four UN Volunteers will support this activity by reaching out to community groups and various market actors.
  • Equipping Local Authorities and institutions responsible for the administration, regulation and monitoring of food supply systems with the skills to effectively manage and ensure the safety of food supply chain systems.

This initiative will take place from July and December 2020, with Mutare being one of the pilot towns.

The restructuring of markets is being done under the Urban Resilience project which is being implemented by UNDP, UNICEF and the Government of Zimbabwe with support from CARE and Oxfam. For more information on the work being done read this blog.