Andre Laperriere, executive director of GODAN, has been extensively studying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agriculture and global food security
Some of the major challenges faced by the food sector include:
⦁ Global food wastage is going to be the highest this year
⦁ The EU is expecting to lose US$430mn of potatoes
⦁ America’s food-waste ratio is set to rise from 30-40 per cent this year
⦁ French fishermen say they are throwing back two-thirds of their catch
⦁ Farmers in Britain have had to dump millions of pints of milk down the drain as restaurant and food sector demand has been shut
⦁ Food wastage in the US is already at 30 per cent under a normal scenario, but with industrial quantities of fresh produce unable to reach restaurants, about half of the fresh produce is in danger of being discarded
The 21st century global food systems have finally shown their weakness - With each country being a specialist in a particular food production sector, global efficiency had increased in the 21st century as producers could focus on scale than on range, thus minimising costs and maximising output. However, being increasingly reliant on a single crop or sector has suddenly manifested an unprecedented challenge - food wastage either because an overnight drop in demand or a supply chain breakdown, wherein food is unable to reach the markets on time.
Food insecurity is accelerating under COVID-19 - Upwards of 265mn million people could be on the brink of starvation by the end of 2020, almost double the current rate. Africa is facing the biggest hurdle, followed by Middle East and Asia.
Africa's food sector is facing a double barrelled gun - COVID-19 and unprecedented Locust infestation - In eastern Africa, a new generation of locusts have descended on croplands, wiping out vital food supplies for millions of people. Weather conditions have pushed this growing swarm of trillions of locusts into countries that aren’t normally accustomed to dealing with the pest. Swarms have the potential to grow exponentially in just a few months, so this could continue to cause big problems in the region in 2020.