World risks food crisis. International cooperation is essential: WTO, WHO and UN

Food supply chains suffered a severe slowdown due to coronavirus pandemic controlled restrictions in more than hundred countries. Photo: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

The world risks facing a food shortage if authorities fail to manage the continuing coronavirus outbreak properly, the heads of three global agencies – United Nations, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization have warned.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdowns, every effort must be made to ensure that trade flows as freely as possible, specially to avoid food shortages” from developing, they said in a statement.

As more than hundred countries around the world are trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus by putting their populations in partial and complete lockdowns, international trade and food supply chains suffered a severe slowdown, according to officials.

“Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market,” said the joint text signed by heads of three organizations on Wednesday.

“When acting to protect the health and wellbeing of their citizens, countries should ensure that any trade-related measures do not disrupt the food supply chain,” the statement reads.

The WTO, WHO and UN also stressed the need to protect employees engaged in food production, processing and distribution, both for their own health and that of others, as well as to maintain food supply chains.

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