FAO rolls out toolkit for smart policymaking during crisis

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Policy makers can rapidly review and assess options with Food and Agriculture Policy Decision Analysis (FAPDA) platform

Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has outlined some broad principles – avoid food export bans, bolster social protection programmes for the most vulnerablewhose adoption can contribute to keeping vital food supply and value chains alive amid the disruptions caused by travel and other health restrictions.

Yet on the ground every country is different, with particular social and fiscal landscapes as well as agricultural endowments. As a result,sopolicies often need to be tailor-made  to ensure food security for all.

India, for example, is rolling out software for warehouse-based trading of harvested foodstuffs that reduce the risks of congestion at wholesale markets where farmers sell their produce.

Poland is offering subsidized loans to keep food processing facilities working. South Sudan is allowing restaurants to offer takeaway services. The Russian Federation, where lockdown measures began this month (April), is expediting benefit payments  sent to low-income households with children.

“There is no one-size-fits-all-solution but there are numerous initiatives that can inspire adaptive policies that can be fast-tracked and put to work helping people,” says FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero. “Best practices are in the eye of the beholder if you will, and they can help countries craft smarter policies and anticipate coming challenges.”

To make it easier for all member states to consider their options, FAO is relying on its recently revamped FAPDA data base. The acronym stands for Food and Agriculture Policy Decision Analysis and the tool is an easy-to-use platform for countries to share what they are doing and rapidly search for ideas from their peers.

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