In the past few weeks, as the novel CoronaVirus (COVID-19) pandemic rocks countries and economies, most people have developed an obsession with figures and statistics. Amidst the several health crises, concerns are being raised about the impact of the pandemic on various sectors, the key of which is Agriculture.
Should we be worried about Corona Virus’ impact on food security? As always, worry will not help; neither will panic. Here are the 3 things we can do instead:
- Government Policies against Protectionism
“It is still too early for an accurate assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy,” says the World Food Programme (WFP)’s Chief Economist, Arif Husain, speaking from an eerily quiet, locked-down Rome. “Too much depends on what is not known — how long the outbreak lasts, how many countries it affects, and the type of policies governments will put in place to respond to the crisis.”
“The good news is that this pandemic does not necessarily have to turn into a food security crisis,” Husain says, warning that “The extent to which the COVID-19 will affect food markets is conditional upon countries staying calm even in the face of supply chain hiccups and not resorting to protective beggar-thy-neighbour policies.”
- Monitoring Food Prices
Panic-buying can lead to localized price hikes. Hence, monitoring food prices and markets and sharing relevant information transparently will strengthen government policies and prevent people from panicking. Individuals, as well as organisations, are urged to get involved in this.
- Support the Vulnerable
Essentially, the most vulnerable countries and populations should be supported — not just in providing medical care, but also assistance through safety nets that have the flexibility to respond to shocks.
In Nigeria, prominent individuals and organisations can provide this support, helping societies and families recover faster after the epidemic.
As a leading digital agriculture organisation focused on food security, we have created initiatives to provide our own support. We understand that due to the slowdown and halt in activities, the price of food commodities has risen far against the average income, hence, we are offering our Sponsors and Users (who reside in Lagos, as this is the most hit by the pandemic would) the opportunity to purchase Sortexed Parboiled Rice at a much more discounted price of 17,000 for 50kg (as against the standard retail cost).
You can make purchases through the “Product” tab on our website now. Please note that this is valid for only a few days until the offer is opened to the general public.
There you have it. Play your part, join in conversations, innovations, and initiatives to help curb both the spread of the disease and its impact on our economies. We will love to read your thoughts and feedback, share them in the comments section.