While global food systems have remained generally resilient to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, regional and local systems, especially in food-deficit countries, face growing challenges. These include diminished purchasing power, disruptions to domestic supply chains, and higher food import costs due to rising global prices, according to the latest AMIS Market Monitor. Understanding how COVID-19 is affecting local and global food value chains is key in establishing effective policy responses to mitigate the harmful impacts of the ongoing public health crisis.
The FAO Food Price Index spiked sharply in November to hit its highest level in almost six years and the largest month-on-month increase since July 2012. The steep rise was driven by increases in commodity prices across the board.
From the COVID-19 pandemic to persistent conflict to desert locust outbreaks, populations around the world have faced severe challenges to food security in 2020. The number of people suffering from chronic hunger is forecast to increase from 690 million in 2019 to as many as 822 million by the end of the year.
Effective food security and agricultural policies hinge on accurate, reliable, up-to-date data and information about a wide range of factors, from the cost of agricultural inputs to average regional rainfall to the local and global market price of staple crops. Such data becomes even more critical when it comes to anticipating and responding to food crises. Since 2010, IFPRI’s Food Security Portal (FSP), supported by the EC, has developed and hosted an expanding suite of datasets and analytic tools to help inform food security monitoring and policymaking.
Rapid urbanization, increasing incomes, and changing consumer preferences are driving massive modernization of food value chains across the developing world. To keep pace with the transformation, policymakers and researchers need a better understanding of the implications of these changes for both producers and consumers, as well as for economies and the environment.