Roadmap to help food systems tackle COVID-19 slump

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Food experts across the globe have come together to discuss the future of food after the pandemic
Food experts across the globe have come together to discuss the future of food after the pandemic

Related tags: coronavirus

A global roadmap to help the food supply chain recover from the impact of coronavirus has been set out by industry experts from six continents.

Developed under the guidance of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the report – Actions to Transform Food Systems Under Climate Change​ – outlines an 11-part plan for strengthening food systems against climate and non-climate shocks.

With food systems already greatly affected by climate change, it proposed a reset to help rebuild food production in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

David Nabarro, a World Health Organization (WHO) special envoy for COVID-19 and curator of the Food Systems Dialogue, said: “It’s time for all of us to get talking about food and most importantly about food systems. That’s all the different elements—from food production to processing to marketing and consumption, and all the steps along the way.”

Global influence

The launch of the report was supported by a global ‘relay’ of influential voices from throughout the food and agriculture community, which discussed the lessons learned from the pandemic and their impacts worldwide.

Bruce Campbell, director of the CGIAR program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, said: “Our work over the last ten years to address the impacts of climate change on food production, and vice versa, has produced a series of transformative interventions that can energize efforts to ‘build back better’ in the aftermath of COVID-19.

“This endeavor is especially important for several hundred million smallholder farmers in the developing world. They were already struggling against climate change before this pandemic hit and will face even greater climate threats long after it has ended.”

Four main areas

The 11 actions detailed in the report were categorised into four action areas: reroute; de-risk; reduce; and realign. A full list of these actions can be found in the graphic below.

“The disruptions caused by this terrible pandemic have at least awakened the world to the fact that our food systems are far more vulnerable than many realized,”​ Campbell added.

“Climate change is already compounding these problems, but the solutions we present—which seek bold transformations in everything from farming to trade, diets and government policies—offer an opportunity to pursue a much brighter future for people and our planet.”

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Related topics: Supply Chain, COVID-19

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