Food safety against Covid-19
The current health crisis caused by Covid-19 has not only caused an economic crisis worldwide, it has also highlighted the food crisis that many countries have been suffering from the abandonment of animal production systems.
The current health crisis caused by Covid-19 has not only caused an economic crisis worldwide, it has also highlighted the food crisis that many countries have been suffering from the abandonment of animal production systems. In just a few weeks, Covid-19 has exposed the risks, weaknesses and inequalities in food systems around the world.
The need for a new pact between the State and civil society is urgent. A fact that has become evident as a result of the health crisis, which also affects the economy and food. Important governance gaps have emerged in terms of underinvestment in public health but also in food security. Although some public authorities have taken extraordinary measures to guarantee the food supply, the crisis has also caused many people to become totally dependent on the charity and solidarity of their neighbors, who cannot be expected to cover their basics needs.
COVID-19 has shown that governments must act in the name of the common good and more effectively when they perform basic centralized functions by implementing well-coordinated and resourceful actions at the regional and local levels. It is there where needs are best understood and different tools can be implemented with the help of civil society. Community organizations, farmer groups and cooperatives have proven to be an effective buffer against the impacts of the crisis, demonstrating its importance.
Any change can be positive and this transformation could bring great benefits for everyone: reconnecting people with food production, making fresh and nutritious food accessible and affordable for all, thus reducing the health conditions that they make people susceptible to disease, and by providing fair wages and safe conditions to workers in the agricultural and food industry, thereby limiting their fragility in the face of economic crises and their risks of contracting and spreading disease.
Under the bad panorama of the Covid-19 and from isolation, rather than calling for alertness and panic, we must consider the need for reflection and seek opportunity in the crisis. Make visible and dignify family, peasant and community agriculture as the main alternative to imported products and to the challenge of food security and employment presented by the current situation.
It is now when the basic capital for agriculture needs to be strengthened. It is time to think, again, about investment and polices aimed at collaborative benefit systems that allow economies of scale to be reached in peasant and/or rural agrifood processes, and also with agroindustrial systems. Business training and rural extension programs that link vocation and territorial capacities to create new and better forms of production based on different rural knowledge.
It is time to strengthen all the actors in the food sector and create a new policy that turns this dark night into a new dawn of production that allows us to guarantee food security and sovereignty, being competitive in a post-Covid-19 world.
It would be good if aid to the food sector is not something temporary and that it will not only remain in the discourse or in the discussions in international forums. It is recommended that the countries and organizations concerned face the challenge of food security as a priority, as a necessary mitigation measure in the short, medium and long term.