Like the rest of the world, East Africa is grappling with the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic which, at the time of writing, had claimed over 36,000 lives globally. The rapid spread of the disease has sent shock waves across East Africa, with governments scrambling for a response to protect already fragile economies from the worst of the epidemic. East Africa is currently the least affected part of Africa, reporting far fewer cases of the disease compared to North, West and Southern Africa (mostly South Africa), but the impact of the outbreak is already being felt on the ground by millions of people.
East Africa is composed entirely of developing economies with average annual GDP per capita of less than US$1,000. Millions survive below the poverty line, earning their living through the informal sector, which raises as much concern about the disease as the impact of measures being instituted to control its spread. In all this, the grain sector, producing the most important staple foods, has come into sharp focus as both businesses and government attempt to secure commodity supplies for food security.