Why in news?

The heads of three global agencies warned on 1st April of the risk of a worldwide “food shortage” if authorities fail to manage the ongoing COVID-19 crisis properly.

Concerns Regarding Food Shortage

  • Many governments around the world have put their populations on lockdown causing severe slow-downs in international trade and food supply chains.
  • Panic buying by people going into confinement has already demonstrated the fragility of supply chains as supermarket shelves emptied in many countries.
  • Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market.
  • Disruptions including hampering the movement of agricultural and food industry workers and extending border delays for food containers, result in the spoilage of perishables and increasing food waste.

How to handle concerns of Food Shortage?

  • We must ensure that our response to COVID-19 does not unintentionally create unwarranted shortages of essential items and exacerbate hunger and malnutrition.
  • In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdowns, every effort must be made to ensure that trade flows as freely as possible, specially to avoid food shortage(s).
  • When acting to protect the health and well-being of their citizens, countries should ensure that any trade-related measures do not disrupt the food supply chain.
  • Protect employees engaged in food production, processing and distribution, both for their own health and that of others, as well as to maintain food supply chains.
  • International cooperation is also essential.
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