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COVID-19 and Food Security: Supply Chains must not Stop

The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the primacy of access to food for food security. The immediate problem has been access to food and the need for shelf-stable foods. Disruption at borders and supply chains will have a medium term and longer if there are challenges getting the inputs into the ground or the harvest off next growing season.

Governments should facilitate trade transactions, as well as access to inputs and tools to avoid food and feed shortages. Farmers and others working on food supply chains must be considered essential workers. They should also be eligible for social protection measures. We must do everything to avoid this health crisis from becoming a food crisis, as emphasized Thanawat Tiensin, Chairperson of the Committee on World Food Security. 

That includes addressing other food security challenges like the locust outbreak in the horn of Africa. Keeping food moving from farm to table must be a priority, as pointed the International Agri-Food Network.  Emerging ag serves as the secretariat for the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN). Read more about agriculture’s response to COVID-19 at the International Agri-Food Network website. There are more than 30 links to materials as well as some heartening examples of commitments made in the face of these challenges. If you have more examples from your work, please don’t hesitate to send me links.

I also briefly spoke about COVID’s challenges to food systems at Agritecture’s Digital Conference Series, available here.

Robynne Anderson

Robynne has extensive experience in the agriculture and food sector, working throughout the value chain – from basic inputs to farmers in the field to the grocery store shelf. She works internationally in the sector, including speaking at the United Nations on agriculture and food issues, and representing the International Agri-Food Network at the UN.Throughout her career she has worked with farm organisations like the Prairie Oat Growers Association, the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi and the Himalayan Farmers Association, as well as global groups, to further the voice of agriculture in the food debate. She has also worked with Fortune 500 companies growing worldwide businesses to assist them with issues management and strategy decisions.

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