Keep food chains alive amid COVID-19 crisis

While facing the health crisis caused by the COVId-19 pandemic, the people are also struggling to tackle the challenges of their livelihood and their economy.
The situation with a surge in coronavirus cases and travel restrictions has demanded the policy makers to draw plans for keeping food supply chain alive amidst the global pandemic before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on our food chains.
Now is the time to protect the flow of food in the country before the COVID-19 outbreak, with all the accompanying closures and travel restrictions, create logistical bottlenecks.
The Food and Agriculture Organization urges countries to meet the immediate food needs of their vulnerable populations and boost their social protection programmes.
While every country faces its own challenges, collaboration — between governments and the full gamut of sectors and stakeholders — is paramount. We are experiencing a global problem that requires a global response.
The Ministry of Commerce and importers have come together to relax import rules to ensure that goods which are necessary for the people can be easily imported.
The government has implemented precautionary measures – from stay-at-home orders to enforcement of preventive regulations- in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.
To avoid the food shortage, the approach we take must avoid imposing measures that would restrict trade and the flow of commodities.
We must ensure that food markets are functioning properly and that information on prices, production, consumption, and stocks of food is available to all in real-time.
Knowing who are your most critical and vulnerable suppliers, and which risks pose an imminent threat, is vital to ensuring continuation of food supply.
The most important role governments can play is to keep the food supply chain operating, intervene to ensure there are enough workers, and keep the food markets from panicking.
Policymakers need to be careful to avoid accidentally tightening food value chain and the logistics. Besides, they must support labour-intensive sectors such as fruit and vegetables with a special scheme which can supply labour to the sectors under the health guidelines.
Individuals can also play an important role, by buying what they need only and by avoiding panic buying and hoarding of food, and cutting down on food waste. Buying too much fresh farm produce that becomes rotten before it can be eaten will just exacerbate food supply problems.
There is enough food for all the people in the country. If all hands from the governmental and private sectors are on deck to effectively make plans to ensure that logistics function smoothly, we will never face a food crisis.

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