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Daily Times Editorial 13 June 2020

Worst food crisis ‘in 50 years’!

 

The food crisis that top international institutions within and outside the UN have been warning about seems to be drawing closer. Yet again UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned about the very serious possibility of the worst food crisis in at least 50 years crippling the world on top of all the other problems caused by the coronavirus. Nobody should take false comfort in the fact that food production remains healthy enough for now and protectionist measures that were expected have largely been avoided so far. Fresh cases are rising in far too many countries, just like Pakistan, to count on better times anytime soon and the chances of a second wave in countries that are faring better are also higher than ever. Plus the global recession brought about by the pandemic, the worst of which is also yet to come, has already begun putting basic nourishment beyond the reach of the world’s poorest people.
The UN feels there is still some time to take appropriate action, but fears that failure to do so might change the global food situation beyond recognition. Already the World Bank has calculated that the pandemic is likely to push close to a hundred million people into extreme poverty. And there’s still no way of knowing how long all this uncertainty will last. As more and more people drop below the poverty line, their ability to afford basic food is increasingly compromised; and this trend will only worsen as the whole world sinks into recession for the next fiscal year or so even in the best case scenario.
Secretary General Guterres has recommended a three point formula for world leaders to employ instantly. These include focusing aid on the worst stricken regions to prevent any immediate disaster; strengthening social protection so that children, pregnant and breast-feeding mothers, and other vulnerable people receive adequate nutrition; and prioritising healthy and environmentally sustainable food systems to build a global recovery. Many top organisations including the UN have been warning about the possibility of famines of biblical proportions for the last two or three months. This is truly unlike any situation the world has seen in a very long time. And even now, as countries begin to take measures to prevent such a situation, they will be hampered by the need for social distancing and localised lockdowns off and on. It’s best, therefore, if world leaders join their heads and look for a collective solution now, while there is still time, rather than wait and fight till they are confronted with a global army of out-of-work and hungry people.

 
 

Worst food crisis ‘in 50 years’!

 

The food crisis that top international institutions within and outside the UN have been warning about seems to be drawing closer. Yet again UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned about the very serious possibility of the worst food crisis in at least 50 years crippling the world on top of all the other problems caused by the coronavirus. Nobody should take false comfort in the fact that food production remains healthy enough for now and protectionist measures that were expected have largely been avoided so far. Fresh cases are rising in far too many countries, just like Pakistan, to count on better times anytime soon and the chances of a second wave in countries that are faring better are also higher than ever. Plus the global recession brought about by the pandemic, the worst of which is also yet to come, has already begun putting basic nourishment beyond the reach of the world’s poorest people.
The UN feels there is still some time to take appropriate action, but fears that failure to do so might change the global food situation beyond recognition. Already the World Bank has calculated that the pandemic is likely to push close to a hundred million people into extreme poverty. And there’s still no way of knowing how long all this uncertainty will last. As more and more people drop below the poverty line, their ability to afford basic food is increasingly compromised; and this trend will only worsen as the whole world sinks into recession for the next fiscal year or so even in the best case scenario.
Secretary General Guterres has recommended a three point formula for world leaders to employ instantly. These include focusing aid on the worst stricken regions to prevent any immediate disaster; strengthening social protection so that children, pregnant and breast-feeding mothers, and other vulnerable people receive adequate nutrition; and prioritising healthy and environmentally sustainable food systems to build a global recovery. Many top organisations including the UN have been warning about the possibility of famines of biblical proportions for the last two or three months. This is truly unlike any situation the world has seen in a very long time. And even now, as countries begin to take measures to prevent such a situation, they will be hampered by the need for social distancing and localised lockdowns off and on. It’s best, therefore, if world leaders join their heads and look for a collective solution now, while there is still time, rather than wait and fight till they are confronted with a global army of out-of-work and hungry people. *
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