No concerns about food, even if Covid-19 spreads

Perspectives

The World Health Organization-WHO declared that the Corona Virus (COVID-19) is a pandemic, as the public takes preventive measures and precautions and stockpiles food and necessities.
As COVID-19 is declared a pandemic, the Myanmar Rice Federation, monitoring the daily situation in the world and reviewing the possible impacts on the local rice market, is making efforts to keep the local rice market stable and maintain local rice sufficiency, in cooperation with traders, rice millers and concerned organizations in regions and states.
The Government and some organizations have stockpiled rice reserves, so the public should not feel anxious, at present, as traders and companies are selling rice at the correct price.
However, we should learn lessons from other countries about how pandemics, such as Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), had negative impacts on food and nutrition security.
It was documented how food prices in the countries hit by former pandemics increased by more than 30 per cent, often skyrocketing in some areas.
In 2003, the SARS outbreak delayed China’s winter wheat harvest by two weeks, triggering food market panics in Guangdong and Zhejiang, though production and prices were largely unaffected throughout the rest of China.
Hence, Myanmar needs to draw up an emergency plan for transporting rice to an outbreak area if shortages of rice occur, and for systematically managing rice exports, if necessary. At the same time, if we can ensure that rice flows into the regions and states, no one can manipulate the market.
The situation has called for organizing with all growers and importers to maintain supplies and food security for the entire population, even if the coronavirus disease spreads.
People must take note that the associations related to rice trading will directly sell rice at wards, industrial zones and factories at wholesale prices.
The Myanmar Rice Federation also said there are surpluses of rice stocks to ensure food sufficiency in the country.
For the current state of the coronavirus crisis, there is no shortage of food products. Most of the food consumed is produced in our country, which is an agro-based one. So, people should remain calm about the nation’s food supplies.

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