The government needs to enhance adopted measures to control the spread of the novel Coronavirus. Extended lockdown already puts poorest and most vulnerable people at risk, and fear of food shortage seems moving around us.
The UN’ Food and Agriculture Organization has warned that protectionist measures by national governments during the coronavirus crisis could provoke food shortages around the world. 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.
Earlier, global agencies have also warned that if government fail to manage the continuing Coronavirus outbreak properly, world could risk facing a food shortage.
According to reports, Kazakhstan, for instance, has banned exports of wheat flour, of which it is one of the world’s biggest sources, as well as restrictions on buckwheat and vegetables, including onions, carrots and potatoes. Vietnam, the world’s third biggest rice exporter, has temporarily suspended rice export contracts.
Russia, the world’s biggest wheat exporter, may also threaten to restrict exports, as it has done before, and the position of the US is in doubt given Donald Trump’s eagerness for a trade war in other commodities.
As per National Food Security & Research Pakistan, there is sufficient stock of wheat/flour in the country and government is going to procure heavily in this season. Whereas the national nutrition survey 2018 showed that 36.9 percent of the population faces food insecurity and food insecurity, definitely leads to an adverse impact on health and nutrition in various ways. Hence, perhaps, it is time to think what planning & policies we have that could facilitate surely our people if the ongoing infectious virus drastically hits our economy.
As coronavirus is affecting the labour force and the logistical problems are becoming very important, the government needs sorts of policies to ensure in place so the labour force can keep doing their job and food for the people can keep moving and to keep the food supply chain operating, the government should continue to intervene to ensure there are enough workers.
Problems could start to be seen in the upcoming Ramadan and intensify over the following two to three months as key fruit and vegetables come into season. In this regard, the government needs to be careful not to increase the food value.
As fruits, specially, have become very demanding in Ramadan, if the people are hit by uncontrolled food prices, and the government fail to ensure protection of its own food supply by restricting food supply chains, it could lead towards a major crisis of food shortage in the near future, and the people of Pakistan, after coronavirus, would face another disaster related to economy.