Globally, food security is a headache during the pandemic 4

Globally, food security is a headache during the pandemic 4

When many countries imposed a blockade and many businesses closed, the world felt the need to think about the issue of food security.

`At this time, supermarkets still have enough stock,` the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a report late last month.

In fact, each Government’s food problem during the pandemic is different.

China: Looking to technology

China was hardest hit by the virus in January and February, with thousands of new cases of nCoV reported every day.

Chinese supermarkets ran out of fruits and vegetables early in the day.

`In China, logistics constraints and workforce crises have caused losses in fresh fruits and vegetables, limited access to animal feed, and reduced slaughterhouse productivity,` the report said.

With new technology and wealth, China has worked for years to improve food security, spending tens of billions of dollars over the past decade to buy major seed businesses.

Even the dominant e-commerce market jumped in.

Australia faces export pressure

Australia exports about two-thirds of its agricultural products and is a major supplier to the Asia Pacific region – but this vital trade is under threat.

Globally, food security is a headache during the pandemic

Australia’s main export markets.

The aviation industry was hit hard by the pandemic and international flights were cut.

About 14.5% of Australia’s exports are food, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).

Farmers can choose to sell goods domestically.

The Australian government intervened with an emergency aid package, announcing it would spend 110 million Australian dollars (67.4 million US dollars) to increase the number of flights and help exporters transport goods to important international markets.

But the pandemic has also raised other problems.

With such large numbers of people living and working in such close quarters, just a few infections could spell disaster for farm operations, and these farms could not shut down for 14 months.

Queensland authorities and growers are working together to create working and management rules that can both keep workers safe and prevent farm closures, such as staggering lunch shifts

Hong Kong and Singapore: Use money to solve problems

Hong Kong and Singapore are Asia’s two major financial centers – but with limited agricultural land, they import more than 90% of their food, according to government websites.

Globally, food security is a headache during the pandemic

A man wearing a mask pushes a cart between empty shelves at the Fusion supermarket, Kowloon area (Hong Kong) on February 7.

Each country has a main supplier.

Even as China is struggling to cope with the epidemic, the flow of goods is still pouring into Hong Kong, said Jonathan Wong, director of the Institute of Bioresources and Agriculture at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Similarly, although Malaysia is currently under a nationwide lockdown, the food industry is one of the essential services exempted.

Pacific Islands: Highest risk of food shortages

The main reason why Singapore and Hong Kong do not have problems is because they have enough resources to buy food from alternative sources.

`The people most at risk are those without a strong economic base, like Kiribati or Micronesia or Tuvalu,` said David Dawe, senior economist at FAO.

Globally, food security is a headache during the pandemic

Import proportion of countries in the Pacific islands.

Some developing countries like Laos or Myanmar produce enough staples including rice that they can survive dwindling imports – but these Pacific islands are so small that they don’t.

The majority of these islands’ income is based on tourism – but no one is traveling in the middle of a global pandemic.

Food shortages and rising prices can lead to severe food insecurity among already vulnerable populations.

What does the world need to do?

Rising instability in global food supplies will affect the vast majority of the poorest, the United Nations Committee on Food Security (CFS) warned last month.

The United Nations is urging countries affected by food security to take urgent domestic measures, as well as cooperate at the global level to protect food supplies.

Governments can protect their citizens by mobilizing food banks, delivering cash to households in need, establishing emergency food reserves, and taking steps to protect citizens.

International cooperation and expanded global trade are also a key solution.

FAO assessed that the world was `terribly` unprepared.

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