A food Crisis Looms as Coronavirus Forces Farms to Stay Idle

A food Crisis Looms as Coronavirus Forces Farms to Stay Idle
Coronavirus

Coronavirus pandemic and Food Crisis

Coronavirus pandemic has led to global disarray. Countries across the globe are opting for stringent Draconian measures. Some countries are experiencing economic crises. Lockdown of borders and travel bans are impacting severely in the global economy. In countries such as Italy, there is a disruption of manpower. This could cause food crises, especially since there are no agricultural laborers. Consequently, there will be a decline in food security.

“We risk a looming food crisis unless measures are taken fast to protect the most vulnerable, keep global food supply chains alive and mitigate the pandemic’s impacts across the food system,” said the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) in a recent post on its website. According to FAO, food shortages can be experienced in April and May.

Restricted movements by farmers, “basic aversion behavior” could hinder farming. Equivalently processing industries vastly relying on agricultural products will be negatively affected.

Challenges 

As of now, there is a challenge in the transportation of food products from destination A to B. It remains unclear for how long the challenge will last, especially with coronavirus on the move. There is also a disruption in the livestock sector. There is the unavailability of animal feeds and reduced access to slaughterhouses. A shortage of labor remains the cause of these events. Everyone seems scared of the fierce virus.

Nonetheless, the disruptions are limited in some countries since food supplies are available in sustainable amounts. However, soon they are likely to experience fluctuations in highly valued products and perishable goods.

Some countries are also hoarding supplies to stock up to safeguard their food security. Logically, some countries will restrict trade to secure their supplies in the future.

What does Fitch Solutions think about food supply?

Fitch Solutions say food supplies will remain sufficient because of the mild weather in key agricultural areas. Therefore, grain production will be plentiful. Especially since large agricultural areas are less densely populated. Making it easy to control the prone contagion.

However, in meat processing factories and palm oil plantation, most of the laborers are at risk of getting infected by the virus. Hence the factories are under temporary lockdown. Until the situation improves.

Sabah, the largest Malaysia palm oil producer, instructed the closure of palm oil plantations in three districts. This was after confirmation that some workers tested positive for the novel virus.

Food protectionism?

Although there is ample supply of food, hoarding and restriction of supplies by countries could cause shortages. Particularly since some processing factories and plantations are on lockdown.

Some countries could resolve to stockpiling, restricting trades. As such the prices of oilseed and grain will hike. For instance, Vietnam, a crop-producing country has implemented restrictions on exports. ie it has restrained rice exports. Kazakhstan has suspended wheat flour, sugar, buckwheat, and sunflower oil exports. Russia has also stopped exporting processed grain.

Why countries are implementing food protectionism.

Different countries find food protectionism a potential measure to help safeguard the food stocks. Nevertheless, aggressive stockpiling and restricted trade could immensely affect the global food supply.

Middle East, China, Japan, and South Korea are exposed to inflation of food supplies. Since they rely on imports for their domestic food.

They also expose countries like India and Indonesia are also since their currency is weak, yet most commodities denominate in dollars in the international market.

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