Beware the ominous rumblings of an increasing number of nations making preparations for the possible loss of food imports. Protectionist measures by national governments during the coronavirus crisis could provoke food shortages around the world, the UN’s food body has warned.
Harvests have been good and the outlook for staple crops is promising, but a shortage of field workers brought on by the virus crisis and a move towards protectionism – tariffs and export bans – mean problems could quickly appear in the coming weeks, Maximo Torero, chief economist of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, told the Guardian. As the coronavirus continues to infect more and more people, food supply chains have started to become more strained in recent days.
In normal times, 35 per cent of the food we eat – around 70 million meals every day – is prepared outside our homes, by restaurants and caterers, in cafes and school canteens. Because restaurants’ needs are very different to those of people cooking at home, billions of pounds of produce was suddenly left without a buyer. British farmers are warning they have been forced to throw millions of gallons of milk down the drain because it no longer has a buyer
Dumped Milk, Smashed Eggs, Plowed
Vegetables: Food Waste of the Pandemic.
China has claimed victory over the coronavirus outbreak inside its borders, but now the country faces another crisis: food shortages. Rumors of a food shortage have swirled on social media for weeks, in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown that stopped tens of millions of people from going to work, and a leaked government document made public last Thursday shows that government officials have also been planning for a shortfall in food supplies.
Beef farmers bracing for ‘desperate crisis’ if more plants close. Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork processor, is shuttering two U.S. plants that process bacon and ham, after closing a separate hog slaughterhouse because of a coronavirus outbreak among employees. “The closures are part of the domino effect underway in our industry,” said CEO Ken Sullivan.
“Meat plants, honed over decades for maximum efficiency and profit, have become major “hot spots” for the coronavirus pandemic, with some reporting widespread illnesses among their workers. The health crisis has revealed how these plants are becoming the weakest link in the nation’s food supply chain, posing a serious challenge to meat production,” writes the New York Times.
‘Our supply line is brittle’: Thomas Massie warns
US could be weeks away from food shortages.
Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie warned that the United States could face food shortages due to the “brittle” supply chain, bankrupting farmers and forcing them to euthanize livestock. “We are weeks, not months, away from farmers euthanizing animals that would have been sold for meat/food. Also, fruits and vegetables are going to rot in the fields.”
“After weeks of concern about shortages in grocery stores and mad scrambles to find the last box of pasta or toilet paper roll, many of the nation’s largest farms are struggling with another ghastly effect of the pandemic. They are being forced to destroy tens of millions of pounds of fresh food that they can no longer sell,” writes the New York Times.
“We Can’t Give Our Product Away” – Farmers Toss Thousands Of Acres Of Fruits, Veggies As Sales Plummet because of the shut down of businesses. Restrurants, bars and hotels are not buying anything so many small farmers not able to market their products.
Coronavirus has highlighted the vulnerability of our current food system. Reports points to delays planting crops in Southern Europe that could lead to problems in a few months. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization forecasts that the Covid-19 pandemic will cause shortages of some crops this year. In that scenario, producer countries are likely to prioritize their home markets over exports, increasing the onus on British producers to supply this country’s needs.
And then we have a grand solar minimum to deal with, which will take the agricultural sector to task with shorter growing seasons and a too wet climate.
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