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United Nations Warns Of 'global Food Shortage' Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s chief economist Maximo Torero Cullen said, “restrictions on all but essential work has impacted farmworkers."

United Nations

The United Nations' (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned the world about the disruption in the food supply chains leading to the global food shortage due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release on UN’s official website. There’s growing food insecurity arising as a drawback, it said, citing the urgency of an emergency expansion and improvement of food assistance and social protection programs. 

Assuring that the food supply left is plentiful in global markets, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s chief economist Maximo Torero Cullen said “restrictions on all but essential work, shuttering of schools and border closures imposed around the world to limit the spread of the coronavirus are impacting farmworkers and disrupting supply chains,” the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) reported.  

He added saying, that toughened measures on cargo vessels, including the air cargo, has slumped shipping, and the fresh food produce and livestock remain impacted due to the pandemic. Speaking to a leading US media outlet, Torero urged the nations worldwide not to ban food exports and keep global food trade going despite protectionist measures. Citing “extreme volatility” in prices as a concern, he was reported as saying that trade barriers among some countries “made matters worse”. Russia, for instance, halted the export of buckwheat and other grains for at least 10 days, while Kazakhstan restricted cargo shipment of wheat flour, buckwheat, sugar, vegetables, and sunflower oil, he added concerned. 

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Africa most vulnerable 

Senior Spokesperson for FAO, Elizabeth Byrs, said explaining that supply obstructions could block the reliable flow of basic food commodities, as a result of which, panic buying could ensue, driving the prices up according to UN report. She said that labour shortage could disrupt food production and processing of labour-intensive crops in particularly vulnerable countries such as sub-Saharan Africa. 

An open letter to world leaders from scientists, politicians, and companies like Nestle and Unilever says, “Governments, businesses, civil society, and international agencies need to take urgent, coordinated action to prevent the COVID pandemic turning into global food and humanitarian crisis,” as they call for immediate "globally co-ordinated" action on looming food crisis. 

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