Coronavirus could cause global food shortage as countries hoard their produce, UN warns – The Sun
THE CORONAVIRUS crisis could cause food shortages around the world, the UN’s food body has warned.
But people should not panic buy during the outbreak as this will only make matters worse, says chief economist of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Maximo Torero.
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He said: “Individuals should only buy what they need to avoid food waste.”
Although harvests have been good, a shortage of field workers and governments banning exports means the shortages could appear in the next few weeks.
Mr Torero told the Guardian that restricting food flow is “the worst thing” governments can do.
He said: “Now is not the time for restrictions or putting in place trade barriers.
“Now is the time to protect the flow of food around the world.”
Now is the time to protect the flow of food
Kazakhstan has already banned exports of wheat flour and is restricting buckwheat and vegetables, according to a Bloomberg report.
Vietnam, the world’s third biggest rice exporter, has temporarily suspended rice export contracts.
Russia, the world’s biggest wheat exporter, may also threaten to restrict exports.
Torero warns: “Trade barriers will create extreme volatility”
“[They] will make the situation worse. That’s what we observe in food crises.”
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Problems are expected to get worse over the following two months as key fruit and vegetables come into season as this produce relies on pickers.
Torero said: “We need to be careful not to break the food value chain and the logistics or we will be looking at problems with fresh vegetables and fruits soon."
“Fruit and vegetables are also very labour intensive, if the labour force is threatened because people can’t move then you have a problem.”
He added: "Coronavirus is affecting the labour force and the logistical problems are becoming very important."
Mr Torero says governments need to act now to stop a food crisis.
“We need to have policies in place so the labour force can keep doing their job.
“Protect people too, but we need the labour force.
“Major countries have yet to implement these sorts of policies to ensure that food can keep moving.”
This comes amid fears the virus could spark also global paracetamol crisis as India limits its drug exports.
While The Sun revealed that France seized two lorries carrying 130,000 face masks for the NHS after banning them from being shipped abroad, The Sun revealed.
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