- Calls for interventions to be designed and implemented in partnership with key stakeholders
- Says a global recession will majorly disrupt food supply chains
- Children identified as most vulnerable group
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
The Food Security Information Network (FSIN) asserted it is of paramount importance for governments across the world to better understand the impacts stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and stressed the need to urgently work towards taking rapid collective action to prevent further hit on food security and food systems.
“Anticipatory action must be undertaken now to safeguard the livelihoods of the most vulnerable people and related agrifood systems to protect the critical food supply chain,” the FSIN said in its 2020 Global Report on Food Crisis released this week.
It stressed that while such interventions must comply with government measures and health guidelines, the interventions should be designed and implemented in partnership and close coordination between governments, humanitarian and development actors.
The FSIN warned that the pandemic may well devastate livelihoods and food security, especially in fragile contexts and particularly for the most vulnerable people working in the informal agricultural and non-agricultural sectors. It added in the Middle East and Asian regions, violent conflict and currency depreciation will drive alarming rates of acute food insecurity and acute malnutrition levels across the most troubled areas.
“A global recession will majorly disrupt food supply chains,” it said.
The report revealed that it is the children, below the age of five, who will be one of the most vulnerable segments since the drivers of food crises (conflict, insecurity, weather extremes, desert locusts and economic shocks), the lack of access to dietary energy and diversity, safe water, sanitation and healthcare, will continue to create high levels of child malnutrition. And the COVID-19 further worsens that already acute global problem.
The FSIN warned that the food security consequences of the pandemic on nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists will likely be grave if national governments close borders, disrupting livestock migration routes, including across the fragile Sahel region.
It added that in countries where crop and livestock production are affected by the desert locust outbreak, the restrictions on movement may hinder locust control operations with dramatic consequences for crop production.
Furthermore, rising unemployment and under-employment is likely to severely reduce people’s purchasing power, the report said.
“Urban populations, particularly daily wage earners in the informal economies and service sector employees, are particularly at risk of losing their income sources as a result of regulations on social distancing and government restrictions to minimize transmission.
“As households face reduced purchasing power, there is great potential for a decline in consumer demand – particularly for higher value products – further weakening the income of producers, including those who produce high-value food products,” FSIN said.