FAO is urging that countries do their best to keep trade flowing and food supply chains alive
Beyond the COVID-19 health emergency, a recession looms, and countries ought to take measures now to soften the longer-term impacts on hunger and food insecurity, a new FAO policy brief says.
The new FAO Policy Brief offers an analysis of food supply data since 1995, which is linked to FAO’s statistical development of the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) indicator, and correlates them to past local economic trends in countries that are net food importers.
It notes that in the absence of timely and effective policies, millions of people are likely to join the ranks of the hungry as a result of the COVID-19-triggered recession. That number will vary according to the severity of economic contractions, ranging from 14.4 million to 38.2 million people, or even 80.3 million should there be a truly devastating contraction of 10 percentage points in all 101 net food-importing countries’ GDP growth.
As the world is not facing food shortages, FAO is urging that countries do their best to keep trade flowing and food supply chains alive and increase agricultural output during the international health crisis.
The large-scale fiscal and monetary responses that governments are crafting to respond to the expected blow to economic growth, represent an opportunity to tackle the longstanding issues in many middle and low-income countries of inequality in accessing healthy food.
Targeting public stimulus measures towards initiatives to bolster food access during the pandemic also offers an opportunity to build more lasting resilience into food systems to safeguard them against economic slowdowns and downturns in the future.