The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the fragility of the world’s food system. The primary issue to date has been the disruption of food supply and affordability rather than food shortages. But if corrective policies are not put in place, today’s restrictions may cause tomorrow’s food shortages.
In countries like the USA, Canada and the UK, where about half of the nation’s food is typically consumed in group settings like restaurants and schools, COVID-19-related closures have forced farmers to dump unsold food—even as millions are food insecure and hungry. Equally affected are urban food systems in crowded cities and urban slums in the developing countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Ecuador, and other countries in Central America and the Caribbean.
Of course, the food supply problem did not start in the cities. Across the globe, harvests are going to waste because laborers are banned from working, cannot travel to or from farms and markets, or do not want to work for fear of catching the virus. In some developing countries, it is difficult for farmers to obtain seeds and fertilizer. In some cases, market closures have deprived farmers of crucial sales opportunities.
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Creating Alternative Urban Food Systems Post Covid-19