Experts say the pandemic will unleash a food security crisis not seen since the Great Recession. As we learned during the 2008-09 Great Recession, governments – with the support of financial institutions, the United Nations, and others – can mitigate the risk of global food shortages and high prices.
ROME – COVID-19 has been slowly creeping into our communities. As we seek to ensure our families’ health and safety, to many people, food has never seemed so important, both as a source of nutrition and, for many, of comfort. The question is whether, as economic disruption continues, we can stave off a pandemic-related food crisis.
What and how we eat affects our health and wellbeing. We depend on farmers to continue working their fields, on supermarket cashiers to show up at their jobs, and on drivers to deliver our food to markets or front doors. But there are strains. In some places, nutritious food is becoming scarce. Among other concerns, food is being hoarded, leaving little on shelves for consumers.
All of us must act. We must work together to save lives, meet immediate needs through emergency responses, and plan for longer-term solutions to support recovery and build resilience. Governments and responsible leaders need to promote and protect reliable, safe, and affordable food supplies, especially for the world’s most vulnerable.