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G20 agriculture ministers to hold discussion on global food security


G20 agriculture ministers to hold discussion on global food security

g20 agriculture
Photo: Kingdom of SA

Agriculture ministers from the G20 states will hold a virtual meeting on food security today. The meeting is expected to focus on global cooperation on agricultural supplies to prevent shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A joint statement released on March 31 by the Directors-General of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization warned about the effect of trade restrictions on the global food supply chain. The statement advised that trade barriers will likely result in food price volatility and negatively impact food availability. The worst affected countries are expected to be low-income ones that rely heavily on imported food.

Fears have arisen as Kazakhstan and Russia, leading wheat flour exporters, and Vietnam, a leading rice exporter, have temporarily banned or limited foodstuff exports. These measures could lead to a spike in prices for import-reliant countries like Pakistan.

Today’s meeting is likely to use the joint statement’s observations as recommendations towards measures to keep the supply chains continuous and ongoing with minimal disruptions. In the immediate future, special steps may be considered to prevent restrictions on perishable items, such as fruits and vegetables, to avoid wastage. Additionally, measures to protect agricultural labour and keep food production online are likely to be discussed.

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