January 24, 2022 - <lliverp@msu.edu>, <beltonbe@msu.edu>, <otasie@msu.edu>, Wellington Osawe, Charuta Parkhi, <reardon@msu.edu>, Iveren Abagyeh-Igbudu, Aisha Muhammed, Balaraba Sule, Muhammad Hudu, Aisha Ibrahim, Grace Egbi Onu-Odey, Adejoh Emmanuel

This report uses a panel dataset from two phone surveys covering February–October 2020 and March–July 2021, with nearly 500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the fish and poultry value chains of eight states in all six of Nigeria’s geopolitical zones. We address three empirical gaps in the knowledge of the impacts of COVID-19 and containment policies on enterprises in these value chains.

  • First, how did state level variations in COVID-19 containment policies affect the operation of businesses during 2020, and how did these effects vary by location (rural and urban; North and South), size of enterprise (small and non-small), value chain segment (lateral, upstream, midstream, and downstream), and gender of business owner?
  •  Second, what kinds of challenges did businesses confront during this period and how did that vary over time and across nodes?
  • Third, what pivoting strategies did SMEs apply in response to COVID-19 challenges (in terms of, for instance, changes to marketing, procurement, technologies, and employment behaviors) and how did these vary by location, business scale, value chain segment, and gender of the enterprise?

Lockdown policies had direct and indirect impacts on SME business operations, but effects were disproportionally negative for small-scale enterprises and enterprises owned by women. Lockdowns negatively impacted the number of days operated by SMEs in lateral supply chains (feed businesses and hatcheries), but small lateral supply chains SMEs in faced significantly larger negative impacts than non-small. Midstream and downstream SMEs (wholesalers and retailers) owned by women were significantly more negatively impacted by lockdowns than businesses owned by men.
Lockdowns were associated with significant negative impacts on the number of hired daily laborers and regular salaried workers employed by SMEs, with significant differences also apparent between male and female owned businesses in lateral supply chin segments, as well as between small and non-small businesses.
We find clear evidence of the effect of lockdown on difficulty accessing inputs, markets and transport. These challenges peaked in April and May (when the lockdown policies were implemented most fully) before declining gradually. The share of respondents reporting low demand and low sales prices as challenges followed a similar pattern. In contrast, the share of SMEs reporting high input prices as a challenge grew steadily in all months but increased especially sharply post-lockdown.
Small businesses tended to be disproportionately affected by these challenges, particularly difficulties associated with low demand and market access, which were more persistent during post-lockdown months for small enterprises than for non-small.
Surveyed SMEs adopted a range of pivoting behaviors in response to the challenges faced. Many of the strategies deployed seem consistent with improved resilience, but others could negatively affect long-term business sustainability.



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