Padmaja R, Nedumaran S, Jyosthnaa P, Kavitha K, Abu Hatab A, Lagerkvist CJ
Front Public Health 10 (-) 814112 [2022-05-13; online 2022-05-13]
This paper investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security and on coping-strategies in urban and peri-urban areas of the Hyderabad, India. Household survey data were collected before (October 2018) and during (January 2021) the onset of the pandemic. Results from logistic regression with the standarized Food Insecurity Expecience Scale (FIES) as dependent variable reveal that close to 40% of the households surveyed experienced a deterioration in food security status during the pandemic. In particular, we find that food security is closely related to the sector of employment in which the primary income- earning member of a household is engaged. To mitigate the impact of the pandemic on their food security, our sampled households adopted a variety of consumption-smoothing strategies including availing credit from both formal and informal sources, and liquidating their savings. Compared to households with severe or moderate level of food insecurity, households facing a mild level of food insecurity relied on stored food as a strategy to smoothen consumption in response to the income shock imparted by the pandemic. In addition, the results indicate that urban households, who adopted similar coping strategies as those adopted by peri-urban households, tended to be more food-insecure. Finally, the duration of unemployment experienced during the pandemic significantly influenced the status of household food security. These findings can inform the formulation of immediate and medium-term policy responses, including social protection policies conductive to mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and ameliorating the governance of urban food security during unexpected events and shocks.