Panic Buying can Impact Food Supply Chain: WPF

In a report titled ‘COVID-19: Potential Impact on the World’s Poorest People’, the World Food Programme has talked about the sufficient supply of basic cereals along with the low maintained prices.

Apr 6, 2020 15:20 IST
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The World Food Programme (WPF) has stated that COVID-19 has so far shown little impact on the food supply chain. Although, the situation could change and get worse if the major food importers become anxious about the rapidly growing pandemic.

In a report titled ‘COVID-19: Potential Impact on the World’s Poorest People’, the World Food Programme has talked about the sufficient supply of basic cereals along with the low maintained prices.

Senior Spokesperson of WFP Elizabeth Byrs highlighted that the disruptions are so far minimal with adequate food supply and stability in markets. She also noted that the global cereal stocks are at a comfortable level and the outlook for the supply of wheat and other staple crops also looks positive for the rest of this year.

Expected Problems with the Food Supply Chains:

The problem in the food supply chain can emerge if big importers show a lack of confidence in the reliable flow of basic food commodities.

It could eventually lead to panic buying forcing an increase in prices of basic food, which will have a devastating impact on low-income countries.

Other expected disruptions can be the blockages of the transport routes that will impact the fresh produce supply or the quarantine measures that could affect farmer’s access to the markets.

The shortage of labor can also be another reason to impact production, especially of the labor-intensive crops in vulnerable countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Measures to avoid the crisis:

The report of the World Food Programme stressed the need to monitor food prices and markets along with ensuring transparent communication. This will help governments in formulating policies that will help in avoiding public panic and social unrest.

In the places where food insecurity is due to restricted access and not due to lack of availability, cash-based transfers can be a standard response. 

About World Food Programme:

World Food Programme (WPF) is the branch of the United Nations that works on food assistance. Headed by David Beasley, WPF is also a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its executive committee.

Headquartered in Rome, WPF has more than 80 current offices around the world. This UN organization helps people who cannot produce or get enough food. It is currently the world’s largest humanitarian organization working on hunger and food security.  

According to the WPF, each year it helps in providing assistance to an average of 91.4 million people in 83 countries.

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