When a pandemic hits, questions that immediately arise include what impact there will be on public health, the economy and other aspects of society. Another set of questions involves response priorities for governments and households.
Food is central to both sets of questions. On the one hand, access to sufficient, nutritious food is threatened. On the other, focusing on food offers promising pandemic response options.
Reports from various countries highlight concerns about the impact of COVID-19 and pandemic response measures on food supplies, whether due to shortages, price rises or cash constraints. Even in rich countries, anxiety about possible shortages has led to stockpiling, while large-scale job losses are leaving many worried about their capacity to afford food.
In some developing countries, the spectre of hunger looms. In July 2020, Oxfam reported that COVID-19 was deepening hunger in existing hotspots while creating new hotspots. It also suggested the pandemic could be “the final straw” for many. Those in the informal economy are among the hardest hit, particularly people living in urban areas who use most of their daily income to buy food. Read more…