THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON AGRICULTURAL CASUAL LABOURERS IN PSNP AREAS
COVID-19 pandemic affects casual labourers and other vulnerable section of the community more significantly than others due to their low income, limited availability and access to foods and other livelihood necessities. The mobility restrictions imposed by the Ethiopian government to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections restrict workers from traveling to areas where there is work.
To better understand the effects of COVID-19 on the livelihoods and food security of casual labourers at household level, especially those in PSNP areas, BENEFIT-REALISE conducted a rapid assessment in selected 17 zones and 24 PSNP woredas in six clusters of BENEFIT-REALISE programme: Woldiya, Haramaya, Arsi, Oda Bultum, Hawassa and Arba Minch.
Alert 1: COVID-19 mobility restriction and doubling of transportation tariff is limiting the movement of casual labourers to find work, jeopardizing the very means of income for food and other livelihood necessities.
Alert 2: Casual labourers inability to earn income not only effects the food security status of their households, but also means low investment for seed and fertilizer that significantly impacts next season productivity and future well being of the households.
Alert 3: Due to the nature of their work, causal labourers face higher risk of infection and need special attention in daily monitoring of their physical health and provision of necessary personal protective equipment.
Alert 4: Insufficient data and information on causal labourers and their mobility is making it challenging to meet the demands of the labour market.
Alert 5: COVID-19 has unprecedented impact on the poor and vulnerable groups. The way out requires government’s as well as NGOs and donor’s effort to facilitate special financing arrangement which mitigate households and individuals’ vulnerability to food security and abject poverty.