Poor countries are at even greater risk of facing a food crisis in 2021 because of higher food prices caused by the coronavirus pandemic than last year, Agnes Kalibata, the UN special envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit, told the Guardian.
“Food systems are down because of COVID-19. Food has become more expensive and in some places unaffordable for people. The food issue is more acute this year than it was last year,” said the special envoy.
Calibata noted that markets have been hard hit – quarantine shutdowns have led to market closures and deterioration of livelihoods for farmers.
Regarding Africa, the envoy noted that nations like Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are facing significant increases in food prices and shortages and that a serious drought season is on the horizon.
According to her, last year food systems were able to withstand the strain: governments took into account UN recommendations against closing borders or imposing tariffs, and good harvests were harvested. However, over the past year, people have exhausted their resources in the form of food, financial resources, assistance from relatives, and will now face the crisis alone, without support.
“This year, because of the economic downturn, we are facing more serious threats. This is happening all over the world, everywhere,” the newspaper concluded, quoting Kalibata.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN World Food Program (WFP) released a report in July 2020 naming 27 countries at risk of a possible food crisis due to COVID-19. International experts estimate that the first signs of a global food crisis may appear within 20 years.