As more and more countries enact measures designed to halt the accelerating Covid-19 pandemic, a call has gone out to governments to ensure that any trade-related measures do not disrupt the food supply chain.
line-height:normal"> QU Dongyu, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Roberto Azevêdo, Directors-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), and World Trade Organization (WTO) say that hampering the movement of agricultural and food industry workers and extending border delays for food containers results in the spoilage of perishables and increasing food waste.
line-height:normal">Food trade restrictions could also be linked to unjustified concerns about food safety, they say. “If such a scenario were to materialise, it would disrupt the food supply chain, with particularly pronounced consequences for the most vulnerable and food insecure populations.
line-height:normal">“Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market. Such reactions can alter the balance between food supply and demand, resulting in price spikes and increased price volatility. We have learned from previous crises that such measures are particularly damaging for low-income countries and to the efforts of humanitarian organisations to procure food for those in desperate need.”