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Covid-19 and Global Food Security

 The unprecedented pandemic has impacted the world in multiple ways. It has affected the years of development done in terms of food security in the countries. The Covid pandemic has increased the global food insecurity, and its impact is expected to be seen in 2021 and 2022. Initially, as the pandemic broke out, sudden closure of borders, trade restrictions and lockdown measures had disrupted the food supply and distribution pattern completely. 

It reduced the access to inputs and services, as labour movement and transports were blocked. The farmers struggled to access the market to sell and buy products properly during the lockdown in different countries. The locust outbreak that happened in 2020, also destroyed the food and other crops in the agricultural lands. Farmers were the worst hit by this locust crisis. 

Higher pricing of food and reduced income in the households is another prime reason that has impacted the accessibility of food. Due to financial shortage caused by lower income or loss of livelihood, more and more households have been forced to reduce their quality and quantity of food consumed. A number of countries reported food inflation during the pandemic. 

Climate change has led to adverse climatic conditions all over the globe. Extreme weather conditions seen in different places such as temperature rise, heat waves, extreme rainfall and drought have impacted agriculture and food production. This has further disrupted the food supply chain system, leading towards food insecurity.

A survey done by the World Bank in 48 countries reveals that people were either running out of food or were lowering their consumption. This reduced calorie intake can affect the health of the people, due to lack of essential nutrients. The UN’s report on “State of food security and nutrition in the world” states that between 720 to 811 million people worldwide, went hungry in 2020. Lower consumption of food is a major health concern. It can lead to problems like malnutrition, especially among children. The pandemic has led 1.6 million children out of their schools, depriving them from the nutritious meals provided. 

The World Food Programme's (WFP) annual review of 2020, shows that the pandemic pushed 124 million people into poverty, leading to an increase in hunger and the threats of famine in some areas. But WFP states that the goal of achieving zero hunger by 2030, is still possible with worldwide efforts and cooperation to plan out a better future. 

Such difficult times call for global solidarity and support. The government and the international organizations should cooperate in order to help those affected by food insecurity. Monetary help as well as access to adequate food resources can be provided to them.

This food insecurity in the times of pandemic has highlighted the importance of developing long-term sustainable strategies to deal with the challenges in agriculture and food supply.

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