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Effect of COVID-19 on Household Food Insecurity and Poverty: Evidence from Ghana

  • Bukari, Chei1
  • Aning-Agyei, Millicent Abigail1
  • Kyeremeh, Christian2
  • Essilfie, Gloria3
  • Amuquandoh, Kofi Fosu1
  • Owusu, Anthony Akwesi1
  • Otoo, Isaac Christopher1
  • Bukari, Kpanja Ibrahim4
  • 1 University of Cape Coast,
  • 2 Sunyani Technical Univesity,
  • 3 Ghana Technology University College,
  • 4 Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology,
Published Article
Social Indicators Research
Publication Date
Aug 25, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s11205-021-02766-9
PMID: 34456451
PMCID: PMC8385484
PubMed Central
  • Original Research


Following the outbreak of COVID-19 and its heavy toll on the global community and humanity, a fierce debate on the pandemic and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) performance nexus has emerged. While the literature on this subject remains highly contested, evidence within the Ghanaian contest is sparse. Thus, we present micro-level evidence on how COVID-19 poses a threat to hunger and poverty as SDGs in Ghana. Precisely, we examined the effect of COVID-19 on households' food insecurity and poverty and further analysed gender and locational sub-samples for differential effects. Data on 3905 households were obtained via concurrent online survey and telephone interviews. The results indicate that, on several occasions, a significant number of the sampled households (57.76%) did not get enough food to eat due to the pandemic. The proportion of households that went on several times without clean water for home use and access medicines/medical treatments were 50.52% and 52.22%, respectively. About 60.72% of the sampled households affirmed that, on several times, they did not have enough income due to the pandemic. At the same time, the share of households that suffered food insecurity due to the pandemic was 69.04%. Instrumenting for COVID-19 using distance to the affected communities, we find that a standard deviation increase in COVID-19 is associated with a rise of 0.232 and 0.289 standard deviations in poverty and food insecurity, respectively. Our results are robust to alternative estimation approaches to addressing the endogeneity of COVID-19 and other sensitivity checks. We conclude that Ghana would need to develop a new spectrum of gender- and location-sensitive policies that engender social inclusion as a conduit to expediate the attainment of zero poverty and hunger. Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11205-021-02766-9.

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