Assessing and Mitigating the Food Security Consequences of COVID‑19 in China

Crush, Jonathan | $438,241

Ontario Wilfrid Laurier University 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

This project will evaluate the impacts of the COVID‑19 outbreak on household food security in Chinese cities, assess the effectiveness of temporary policies from multi-stakeholder perspective and develop social and policy measures to mitigate the impacts. Building on the expertise, research instruments, and networks developed through the SSHRC-funded Hungry Cities Partnership, our objectives are to: 1) Investigate the immediate food security challenges resulting from China’s quarantine measures, unstable food supply, and fear of food shopping in two COVID‑19 affected cities (Wuhan and Nanjing); 2) Compare food security status in Nanjing following the COVID‑19 outbreak with baseline data collected through Hungry Cities in 2015; and 3) Synthesize and assess policies established to address food security challenges and promote effective measures by engaging local stakeholders. Our Canadian-Chinese research team has strong multidisciplinary expertise in food security evaluation, food policy analysis and the social and food security impacts of infectious diseases. Using a mixed-methods approach, we will generate rapid answers to Objective 1 through an online household survey and follow-up telephone interviews with residents of Wuhan and Nanjing, and a complementary inventory of immediate policy measures. Building on the survey instruments and established connections developed through the Hungry Cities Partnership, we will address Objective 2 through a longitudinal analysis to evaluate changes in household food security before and after the COVID‑19 epidemic. Objective 3 will be addressed through a policy analysis and in-depth interviews with diverse local stakeholders. Outcomes will be relevant to academics, international organizations, and policymakers involved in efforts to strengthen food provisioning amid the epidemic in China. Results will also be useful to policymakers in other countries at risk of food security during infection disease outbreaks.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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