UN and WTO warned of possible interruptions in food supplies

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Three international organizations – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) – have warned of the dangers of pandemic interventions that could jeopardize food supply, global trade and food security.

As indicated in the joint statement of the heads of the three organizations posted on Wednesday on the FAO website, the risk primarily concerns the agricultural sector, the food industry and the transport sector.

“In order to protect the health and well-being of their citizens, countries should take into account that any restrictive measures should not violate the food supply chain. Such violations, including restrictions on the movement of workers in the agriculture and food industry, and increased delays in food containers by border, leading to spoilage of perishable goods and an increase in food waste. Restrictions on food trade may also be associated with unreasonable concerns about security. foodstuffs. If such a scenario becomes a reality, it will cause disruptions in the food supply chain, which will have especially tangible consequences for the most vulnerable groups of the population,” the document says.

In turn, a lack of confidence in sufficient food supplies can create a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage in the global market. Organizations warn that a shift in the balance between supply and demand for food will lead to a sharp increase in prices and increased price volatility.

“From past crises, we know that these kinds of measures are particularly detrimental to low-income and food-deficit countries, as well as humanitarian aid efforts for food procurement for those in desperate need of it. We must prevent the recurrence of such dangerous measures.” – indicated in the FAO, WHO and WTO.

Pandemic consequences

FAO forecasts food chain disruptions in April-May due to a pandemic. “At the moment, violations are minimal, as food supplies are stable and the situation on the markets remains stable. Grain stocks in the world are at a good level, and forecasts for wheat and other major crops are good in 2020.

Although we can expect a decline now the production of high-value commodities (such as fruits and vegetables) We are already seeing difficulties in logistics related to the movement of food (inability to deliver food from point A to point B) as well as the impact of the pandemic on the livestock sector due to a decrease in animal feed and slaughterhouse capacity (due to logistical restrictions and labor shortages), as happened in China.

Despite all the difficulties, the global food market will suffer less compared to other sectors, more dependent on disruptions in logistics and declining demand, such as transport, industrial and energy markets, the FAO believes.

“The deflationary shock for the entire economy that the pandemic will lead to will be reflected in the FAO Food Price Index, in the short term, the real cost of healthy food can rise due to the increase in the cost of perishable foods, which will have particularly negative consequences for low-income households and make it difficult to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” the FAO said.

At the same time, prices for basic products will not undergo significant changes, experts predict.


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