COVID-19 and food systems

Short- and long-term impacts

The COVID-19 pandemic placed unprecedented short-term stresses on food supply chains around the world. However, rapid responses by both private-sector actors and policy makers mostly managed to prevent severe disruptions. Yet, even before the outbreak of COVID-19, food systems were faced with a formidable “triple challenge” of simultaneously providing food security and nutrition to a growing global population, ensuring the livelihoods of millions of people working along the food chain from farm to fork, and ensuring the environmental sustainability of the sector. This paper discusses the stresses COVID-19 created in food supply chains and the remarkable resilience these supply chains have demonstrated in high-income countries, as well as specific impacts in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors and the importance of transparency in avoiding a COVID-19 induced food crisis. The paper concludes by discussing the long-term challenges for food systems, arguing that the unanticipated shock of COVID-19 strengthens the case for shifting from ‘business as usual’ policies to a more forward looking policy package for food systems.

Published on July 27, 2021

In series:OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papersview more titles