World To Face Food Crisis If Coronavirus Pandemic Not Managed Properly: UN, WTO.
The heads of three global agencies warned Wednesday of the risk of a worldwide “Food shortage” if authorities fail to manage the ongoing coronavirus crisis properly.
Many governments around the world have put their populations on lockdown, causing severe slowdowns in international trade and food supply chains.
“Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market,” said the joint text signed by Qu Dongyu, head of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, and Roberto Azevedo, director of the World Trade Organisation.
“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)” from developing, they said in their statement.
Over the longer term, confinement orders and travel restrictions risk causing disruptions in agricultural production due to the unavailability of agricultural labor and the inability to get food to markets.
“Such 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,” said the three leaders.
They also stressed the need to 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.