The COVID-19 pandemic has raised food security risks in Asia and the Pacific as lockdowns and export restrictions have affected food supply chains.
The pandemic is hitting the entire food value chain from farm to fork. Farms and small and medium-sized agricultural businesses face labor shortages due to lockdown measures and a decline in migrant workers.
Transporting harvests quickly to markets has become a challenge as well. Large amounts of unsold vegetables and fruits have been wasted in farms as restaurants, hotels, and schools have been shut down.
While disruptions in food production, processing, and distribution caused farm-gate prices to fall for perishable products, retail prices of staple food, fresh vegetables and fruits rose sharply due to panic buying at least temporarily and higher transportation costs.
Altogether, they are adversely affecting consumers' choice of food and posing immediate threats to food security for the poor and vulnerable. The sudden closure of borders, and trade restrictions, add strain on food security for importing countries.
A version of this article appears in the print on August 24 2021, of The Himalayan Times.