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POLICY BRIEF FAO (April 2020) Extension and advisory services: at the frontline of the response to COVID-19 to ensure food security

The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is expanding daily. Governments around the globe are confronted with multiple challenges related to minimizing the devastating health impact and protecting human lives, and ensuring sufficient food supplies and the functioning of services to those most in need. All this while coping with the economic consequences of COVID-19, which is expected to push an additional 548 million people below the poverty line. Between present
disruptions and future threats to the food supply chain, the COVID-19 outbreak has generated extreme vulnerability in the agriculture sector. It is, therefore, crucial to mobilize all available instruments, institutions and stakeholders from both public and private sectors and civil society to ensure appropriate and timely response.
Agricultural extension and advisory services (EAS) systems play an indispensable role at the frontline of the response to the pandemic in rural areas. However, to adapt to the emergency context within the government regulations, EAS providers need to rapidly change their way of operating.