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The Impact of COVID-19 on Urban Agriculture in São Paulo, Brazil

por Aziz Salem - publicado 17/06/2021 08:20 - última modificação 17/06/2021 08:18

During the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers worldwide were greatly affected by disruptions in the food chain. In 2020, São Paulo city experienced most of the effects of the pandemic in Brazil, with 15,587 deaths through December 2020. Here, we describe the impacts of COVID-19 on urban agriculture (UA) in São Paulo from April to August 2020. We analyzed two governmental surveys of 2100 farmers from São Paulo state and 148 from São Paulo city and two qualitative surveys of volunteers from ten community gardens and seven urban farmers. Our data showed that 50% of the farmers were impacted by the pandemic with drops in sales, especially those that depended on intermediaries. Some farmers in the city adapted to novel sales channels, but 22% claimed that obtaining inputs became difficult. No municipal support was provided to UA in São Paulo, and pre-existing issues were exacerbated. Work on community gardens decreased, but no garden permanently closed. Post COVID-19, UA will have the challenge of maintaining local food chains established during the pandemic. Due to the increase in the price of inputs and the lack of technical assistance, governmental efforts should be implemented to support UA.