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In a moment of global unity, many governments across the world chose the same policy to address Covid-19: lockdowns. Lockdowns helped to “flatten the curve” but often undermined food and nutrition security. Taking a theoretical and empirical perspective, this paper disentangles the effects of different lockdown measures – such as movement restrictions, workplace closures, and banning public events – on different dimensions of food and nutrition security. The empirical explorations are based on a content analysis of 1,188 newspaper articles on lockdown effects published in five African countries: Zambia, Benin, Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya (ordered from lowest to highest lockdown stringency). The results highlight both the need and scope to design nutrition-sensitive lockdown strategies, which are effective from an epidemiological perspective but minimize trade-offs with food and nutrition security, when facing pandemics such as Covid-19 and potential future disease outbreaks.

Published as Hohenheim Working Papers on Social and Institutional Change in Agricultural Development Nr. 006-2020.