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Preserve food supply chains to counter coronavirus threat - UN

21 aprile 2020 | 23.26
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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The Covid-19 pandemic is a threat to global food security that can be mitigated by avoiding disruption of food supply chains, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation chief Qu Dongyu told G20 agriculture ministers on Tuesday.

"Preserving access to safe food and nutrition is an essential part of the health response," said Qu, recommending that countries strengthen local production and shorten food supply chains.

"We need to collaborate with every actor in the supply chain, build public-private partnerships and promote innovation", Qu said.

Qu was addressing a G20 agriculture ministers' emergency food security convened by Saudi Arabia, which holds the rotating G20 presidency.

Speaking on behalf of the three Rome-based UN food agencies (FAO, World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development), Qu also urged ministers make long-term goals an intrinsic part of their policymaking.

"The crisis opens up an opportunity to accelerate food system transformation," Qu said, pointing to e-commerce tools as a way to enhance local resilience and bolster direct links between producers and consumers.

"New business models are needed. It is the time to speed-up e-commerce in agriculture and food systems across the globe", Qu stated.

FAO is actively helping vulnerable countries bolster their food systems to counter shocks caused by Covid-19 in local, regional and global food supply chains. The Covid-19 pandemic makes early warning programmes, rapid emergency and humanitarian aid responses, and robust recovery plans crucial, Qu said.

Qu also urged the ministers to support the broader use of tools such as the Agricultural Market Information System - a G20 initiative hosted by FAO that monitors world supply and price developments - and FAO's Food and Agriculture Policy Decision Analysis, both of which are contributing to orderly functioning of global markets.

Tuesday's meeting focused on pushing forward with the commitment made last month at a G20 Summit when leaders pledged to step up global cooperation and ensure and facilitate trade flows of agricultural products to safeguard global food security and nutrition.

The meeting was also attended by the heads of the UN World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Organization for Animal Health and a representative of the World Bank.

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