A new UN report identifying data research priorities highlights disruptions to farm production, food processing, transportation and consumer demand, which impacted livelihoods throughout the food chain.
The United Nations Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery, says research is needed to explore how localised production, shorter supply chains and circular economies could improve food systems resilience and reduce environmental impacts.
It says prolonged challenges in this sector could exacerbate food insecurity and lead to political unrest.
The report also points to World Bank research on the vital flow of remittances to low and middle-income, and fragile countries. Remittance volumes are expected to drop by US$100 billion in 2020 as workers, many of them in food systems, see incomes and work prospects decline.
“We must focus on measures that reduce inequality and lead to a greener future”
The report identifies 25 main research priorities and key scientific strategies to support an equitable recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.
“We have a historic opportunity for change,” says United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed in the report.
“For macroeconomic choices and fiscal policies that are pro-poor and that place peoples’ rights at the centre of recovery.
“We must focus on gender equity and invest in public services and other measures that will help close the widening gap on inequalities and lead to a greener future.”
According to UN estimates, 71 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty in 2020.