Food security amid COVID-19: Money can never be a substitute for food

Food security amid COVID-19: Money can never be a substitute for food

Publication details

  • Wednesday | 03 Jun, 2020
  • Abid Qaiyum Suleri
  • COVID-19 Policy Review Series
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Introduction COVID-19 pandemic is admittedly a black swan event. It was neither anticipated nor we can prevent it. Having been warned about global recession and the looming food crisis, governments across the world especially in the developing countries cannot afford to be complacent about the need for both food security and food safety. No amount of financial stimulus can save a state from social unrest if its food supply system is not functioning the way it should. Money can never be a substitute for food. Increasingly, warnings about global recession are accompanied by warnings of a looming food crisis. As the coronavirus spreads and the number of its patients increases, the restrictions on mobility are mounting and economic and commercial supply chains are coming under serious strain. Lockdowns and impediments on the movement of goods and commodities will have – and perhaps are already having – a significant impact on the availability, or otherwise, of essential food items in many parts of the world. Most countries, therefore, are taking these warnings seriously. They are trying to prepare themselves as per the size of their purse by providing fiscal stimuli – varying from $ 2 trillion in the US to $ 8 billion in Pakistan. Multilateral and bilateral lenders, too, are proposing to shield vulnerable economies against tough economic times through debt relief and debt rescheduling.