UN Warns of Food Crisis amid Pandemic
UN Warns of Food Crisis amid Pandemic
IFAD warned on Monday that immediate action is needed to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from transforming into a food crisis.

TEHRAN (Iran News) – The UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) warned on Monday that immediate action is needed to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from transforming into a food crisis.

As the economic slowdown due to the global health crisis threatens the lives and livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable people, IFAD has earmarked $40 million to fight rural poverty, launching an urgent appeal for additional funds.

On top of its contribution — the COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility — IFAD aims to raise at least $200 million more from both member states, foundations and the private sector.

The funds, it said, are needed to support farmers and rural communities to continue growing and selling food, mitigating the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on food production, market access, and rural employment.

The new IFAD facility will allow farmers in the most vulnerable countries to have timely access to inputs, information, markets, and liquidity.

“The fallout from COVID-19 may push rural families even deeper into poverty, hunger and desperation, which is a real threat to global prosperity and stability,” said IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo.

“With immediate action, we can provide rural people with the tools to adapt and ensure a quicker recovery, averting an even bigger humanitarian crisis,” he added, Anadolu Agency reported.

With their movements restricted to contain further spread of the virus, many small-scale farmers are unable to access markets to sell products or to buy goods, such as seeds or fertilizer, IFAD noted. Closures of major transport routes and export bans are also likely to affect food systems adversely.

“As entire production chains are disrupted and unemployment rises, the most vulnerable include daily laborers, small businesses and informal workers, who are very often women and young people,” IFAD said. “The return of workers from cities affected by lockdowns will put further strain on rural households, which will also stop receiving much-needed remittances.”

About 80% of the world’s poorest and most food-insecure people live in rural areas, according to UN data. Even before the outbreak, more than 820 million people were going hungry every day.

A recent United Nations University study warned that in a worst-case scenario, the economic impact of the pandemic could push a further half-billion people into poverty and food crisis.

  • source : Tasnim, Irannews