Rising food prices present more Covid-19 challenges
As if the world does not have enough multiple health challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has identified yet another worsening threat to livelihoods and life itself.
With poverty and unemployment multiplying arising from falling incomes and indeed no incomes as a result of massive job losses and business collapses, the FAO has not just noted that global food prices are rising but warned that this trend is likely to continue. The UN agency, which among its critical functions also monitors global food prices, has reported that January’s food prices were the highest since July 2014, up by more than 4 per cent from December.
Indeed the FAO said that there has been a continuous rise in food prices amid COVID 19 for the last eight consecutive months. This it attributes to “significant increases for sugar, cereals and vegetable oils”, staples in most parts of the world. The prices of meat and meat products also rose though not as much as those for these staples, fuelled by strong poultry imports from some countries such as Brazil and worsening crop harvest projections in the European Union, Russia, Thailand and South America.
These worrying predictions should provide an impetus for countries like our own to maximize their agricultural and food production potential and capacity, both to ensure our own food security as well as providing needed food for the rest of our region.