Emran food safety

Emran Yaser Khasawneh

Researcher

Interested in the advanced agriculture and food security sector

Food Security and Covid-19 Pandemic

‚ÄčThe Coronavirus, although microscopic, didn’t just attack people’s lungs and respiratory systems but it attacked the economy of countries specially the developing ones. It also attacked various industries like tourism, trade, and internal transportation and aviation, thus exhausting the economy and changing the balance while putting food security on the top of politicians’ and regimes’ priorities and restoring the attention on the agricultural sector. The biggest concern was the shortages in supply, where the biggest question that was raised is ‘will the strategic food reserve be sufficient?’. This question was concurrently raised by decision-makers, merchants and citizens.

The alarm of food insecurity in the Arab region rang louder this time as the expected numbers are alarming; according to the report by the United Nations Economic and Social council for Western Asia, 8.3 million Arabs will end up living in poverty during this year thus increasing the total number of Arabs living under the poverty line to 101.4 million which is quarter of the nearly 400 million Arabs. It is also worth mentioning that those suffering from under-nutrition in the Arab region will increase by 2 million.

The concept of food security doesn’t only mean the availability of food, it is actually divided to three main divisions.

The first one is the availability of food, which is the most assuring sector as the global production of food increased by 1.7% this year which meets the global population growth. The grain reserves are also assuring. The decline in oil prices has also contributed to the increase in food production as the world’s production of biofuels has fallen to record levels as a result of the economic insufficiency to its production in light of the drop in oil prices which has led to the farmers of soybeans, corn, and others to sell them as food not as biofuels.
The second division of food security is food safety. Governments had focused their spending on the medical sector to fight the covid-19 pandemic; the panic from the virus can actually last longer than the virus itself. This leads to shifting the focus off food safety as the use of chemical pesticides on the fields increases. Food in storage will also face some damages as exporting countries are imposing restrictions on exports and importing countries are also imposing restrictions on food imports. Even inside a country, areas are being isolated from one another thus the storage time is increasing, putting further risk on the safety of food and leading to more food waste in food supply chains.
The third division and the most important one is the accessibility of food, which means the ability of an individual to provide his necessary daily calories. The global economic activity is completely stalled which has led to paralysis in various sectors that may last for a long time even after the pandemic ends as recovery plans are not expected to give positive results in the short term. This will lead millions of people around the world to fall into the category of food insecurity as they lose their jobs and lose their incomes that used to allow them to fulfill their food needs. It is expected that the number of people who will be suffering from under-nutrition around the world will be almost 2 billion.
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