COVID-19 and the risk to food supply chains: How to respond?

As the COVID-19 pandemic turns into a global crisis, countries are taking measures to contain the pandemic.

This policy brief provides recommendations on measures to consider in order to keep the supply chain alive in these times of crisis, such as giving smallholder farmers support to both enhance their productivity and market the food they produce, also through e-commerce channels

Restrictions on movement are curbing farmers’ access to markets to buy inputs and sell products. Fresh produce is accumulating at farms, resulting in food loss. It is causing labor shortages as migrant seasonal workers are unable to travel. The Ebola outbreak in 2014 disrupted the agricultural market chains in West Africa for the same reason, leading to shortages of food and price increases. Africa is especially vulnerable right now with desert locust infestations already threatening the continent’s food supply. In China, logistics constraints and labor crunches have caused losses of fresh vegetables, limited access to animal feed and diminished capacity of slaughterhouses.

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