Fixing the global food system after coronavirus

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From panic-buying in Europe, to bans on rice exports in Asia and rising food prices in Africa, the fragility of our global food system has been exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Heightened demand, disruption and uncertainty threaten to produce a new global food crisis on the back of the outbreak, which could see further price hikes, food losses and shortages as well as rising malnutrition and global health issues in the months ahead.

Yet, out of the urgency and necessity created by the shock of COVID-19, we have also seen how rapidly innovative measures can be deployed to minimize the impact of the virus on food security.

This has included establishing “green channels” in China to prioritize vital, nutritious fresh produce, while across Europe countries have waived travel restrictions for seasonal workers who are essential to maintaining a consistent food supply. In India, e-commerce and agribusiness have been exempted from restrictions to protect consumers and food markets.

Photo credit: Mayak Akuot/FAO

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