food supply (3)

Bar chart illustrating which foods were most difficult to buy in shops, supermarkets, and online grocery services. Dry goods is the highest, followed by tinned food.

      3 key ways the pandemic impacted access to food

 

  1. There was a lack of clarity about how much food people needed to buy.
  2. The pandemic made more people unable to afford food.
  3. Foodservice and hospitality businesses and their suppliers are going to feel the effects of lockdown for years.

EFRA's key recommendations to fix the problem 

1.Ensuring people can afford enough healthy food is the responsibility of multiple Government departments. To bring that work together, the Government should appoint a Minister for Food Security who is empowered to draw together policy across departments on food supply, nutrition and welfare.

2.The Government should work with producers, processors and wholesalers servicing the hospitality and foodservice sector to monitor the health of food and drink suppliers as supply chains restart.

3.The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) should continue to provide £5 million in annual funding to FareShare to redistribute surplus food from farms and across the supply chain to frontline food aid providers for a further two years. This would help those who struggle to afford food as the effects of the pandemic continue, and reduce food waste from farms.

4.Food supply to supermarkets continued because we were able to keep food coming into the country. Future crises could stop this flow and cause more serious problems. The Government has to update its food resilience plans, taking into account how consumer behaviour can disrupt food supply and whether our efficient "just-in-time" supply chains are as resilient as they need to be.

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5195179470?profile=RESIZE_400xCOVID-19 is disrupting food systems globally and governments must stabilise food supply chains and thoughtfully expand social safety nets now to avert social unrest. Lessons learned from the 2008–2012 food price crises globally, which caused riots in 50 countries, point to seven actionable points to consider.

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As the novel coronavirus pandemic shuts down businesses globally and sends countries into lockdown, the disruptions are threatening to cut off supply chains and increase food insecurity.

"Supermarket shelves remain stocked for now," the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said in a report released late last month. "But a protracted pandemic crisis could quickly put a strain on the food supply chains, a complex web of interactions involving farmers, agricultural inputs, processing plants, shipping, retailers and more."

The issue, however, is not food scarcity -- at least, not yet. Rather, it's the world's drastic measures in response to the virus.

Border closures, movement restrictions, and disruptions in the shipping and aviation industries have made it harder to continue food production and transport goods internationally -- placing countries with few alternative food sources at high risk.

Airlines have grounded thousands of planes and ports have closed -- stranding containers of food, medicine, and other products on tarmacs and holding areas, said the UN Conference on Trade and Development on March 25.

Heightened instability in global food supply will affect the poorest citizens most, warned the UN's Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in a paper last month.

Even private companies and organizations have called for immediate action to address the looming food catastrophe.

"Governments, businesses, civil society and international agencies need to take urgent, coordinated action to prevent the COVID pandemic turning into a global food and humanitarian crisis," said an open letter to world leaders from scientists, politicians, and companies like Nestle and Unilever.

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