From pandemic to climate, “making agri-food systems resilient to shock”

Three billion people cannot afford a healthy diet, published the FAO Sofa report

The fragility of agri-food systems can affect a large number of people: today some three billion people cannot afford a healthy diet and another billion people would join their ranks if a shock were to reduce their incomes by a third.. In addition, up to 845 million people would see the cost of their food rise if disruptions occur along critical transport links. This is what we read in the report published today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), ‘The State of Food and Agriculture (Sofa)’ titled ‘Making agri-food systems more resilient to shocks and stressors’.

Countries – highlights the FAO – must make their agri-food systems more resilient to sudden shocks, such as those observed during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has proved to be one of the main factors in the recent rise in levels of food insecurity around the world. According to the report, without proper preparation, unpredictable shocks will continue to undermine agri-food systems. The report defines shock as a ‘short-term deviation of long-term trends, with substantial negative effects on a system, people’s well-being, assets, livelihoods, security, and the ability to withstand future shocks’.

Some examples include extreme climatic events, the spread of diseases and animal or plant infestations. “The pandemic highlighted both the resilience and the weaknesses of food systems,” said FAO director general QU Dongyu at the virtual ceremony for the presentation of the report.