The announcement of country-wide lockdown induced by COVID-19 pandemic hit the informal sector the hardest. The return of migrant workers to their places of origin, disruption of agricultural supply chains, closing of markets and local hatias, restricted movements and a ban on transportation had a damaging effect on local food systems. Food security was threatened for the poor and vulnerable population across the country. The impediment in the income and livelihoods of these people and their local food systems raised questions on the existing social policies and market practices.
While various studies were conducted on migrant crises and on the disruption of lives and livelihoods of people due to the current pandemic, there is a lack of rigorous academic studies that examine the impacts of COVID-19 on food insecurity. This article adopts a sustainable food systems lens to present experiences of the authors working in CHIRAG-a research translation project in the Chakai block of Bihar. The article also explores the potential of the recent pandemic situation in undoing the erosion of food sovereignty of the local Santhals in these regions.