In a bid to help Belgian potato producers amid Coronavirus pandemic, citizens are being asked to eat an extra portion of fries each week. The deadly pandemic has reportedly destroyed surplus stock as due to the lockdown the demand by restaurants has also slumped. According to an international media outlet, the campaign is led by Belgapom, the country’s association of potato producers.
While speaking to an international media outlet, Roman Coors, the director of the Belgapom, said that he hopes that by encouraging Belgians to eat more fries at home as it will enable the processors to avoid food wastage by processing more potatoes and store them in the freezers. Coors further added that in Belgian as people eat fries once a week, eating an extra portion during the crisis could help collaborate with farmers and the industry to avoid food losses.
As per reports, Belgian potato farmers are currently facing a surplus of 750,000 tons of potatoes this year which risk being destroyed because of the measures in place to stop the spread of the COVID-19. One of the world’s largest frozen fries exporter also reportedly informed that with almost all food outlets closed in the country and across Europe, normal consumption patterns have also been disrupted. The Belgapom estimates that the pandemic has caused a worldwide decrease in the consumption of the fries by 40 per cent.
The decrease in consumption of fries reportedly has a huge impact on the Belgian potato growers who are the world’s largest exporter of frozen fries, with the majority of their products going to caterers and professional kitchens in 160 countries around the world. Coors informed that around 2.3 million ton of frozen fries were supplied globally by Belgian producers in 2019. However, now due to the deadly pandemic, citizens are urged to use extra potatoes and the authorities also promoting local and seasonal recipes through dedicated websites to use up excess Belgian potatoes.
Meanwhile, the United Nations reportedly warned that the world is at risk of widespread famines of ‘biblical proportions’.David Beasley, who is the head of the World Food Programme (WFP), reportedly said that urgent action was needed to avoid a catastrophe. Beasley, while addressing the UN Security Council, said that the world had to ‘act wisely and act fast’ as there could be ‘multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months’.