Rome-. The urgent need to achieve more resilient agricultural food systems to cope with shocks such as those caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is the call of the FAO here today.
During a virtual presentation of the annual State of Food and Agriculture report, the Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency, Qu Dongyu, highlighted that “the pandemic has highlighted both the resilience and vulnerability of our agricultural food systems.”
The text details that the spread of SARS-CoV-2 has become one of the main determinants of the latest increase in estimates of world hunger.
He explained that without proper preparation, unexpected shocks will continue to undermine agri-food systems.
In this sense, the specialized agency recommends that governments make resilience in agri-food systems a strategic part of their responses to current and future challenges.
The Food and Agriculture Organization said that diversification, both from sources of inputs, such as production, markets and supply chains, as well as actors, is key, arguing that diversity creates multiple pathways to absorb shocks.
The text, which was reviewed by FAO, notes that supporting the creation of small and medium-sized agri-food companies, cooperatives, unions and groups helps maintain diversity in national agri-food value chains.
He also points to society as essential and explains that well-connected agri-food networks overcome disruptions more quickly by changing sources of supply, transport and marketing channels, inputs and employment.
Improving the resilience of vulnerable households to ensure a world free from hunger is another important factor indicated by FAO in favor of resilience, which, he explained, can be achieved through improved access to assets, to diversified income sources and social protection programs in the crisis event .
According to the report, Covid-19, among other factors, pushed up to 161 million people into food insecurity in 2020, compared to the previous year, which showed that between 720 and 811 million people suffered from the disease last year.
The text reiterated that about three billion people are deprived of a healthy diet to protect themselves from malnutrition, and warns that another billion are at a similar risk, if some disruption reduces their income by a third.
Additionally, it is remarkable that food costs could increase for 845 million people if there was a change in basic transportation methods.
The FAO document acknowledges that even before the pandemic, the world was not on track to meet the shared commitment to end hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030, but in this case the pandemic has pushed that goal away.
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