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Covid crisis fuels food price rises for world's poorest

Graham Watson

30th January 2021

This timely intervention by the President of the World Bank highlights a neglected impact of coronavirus: the impact on food security.

“Income losses have translated into less money to buy food while market and supply disruptions have created local shortages and higher prices. This will have negative impacts on the health and cognitive development of Covid-era children for years to come.”

On the demand-side, real incomes have fallen. On the supply-side, there's been disruption to food supplies, meaning the price of food has risen.

Global food prices, as measured by a World Bank food price index, rose 14% last year.

This exacerbates food poverty, raises levels of extreme poverty and thereby threatens development progress.

Almost one in 10 people live in chronic hunger in an age of food waste.

David Malpass rightly calls for the advanced high-income nations to raise their game in co-ordinating a response. He suggests a three-pronged approach:

  1. Enable free flow of food.
  2. Bolster social safety nets.
  3. Enhance shock prevention and preparedness

Graham Watson

Graham Watson has taught Economics for over twenty years. He contributes to Tutor2U, reads voraciously and is interested in all aspects of Teaching and Learning.

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