The CGIAR Program on Fish Agri-food systems response to Coronavirus

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread globally, many countries are putting in place unprecedented lockdown measures designed to contain its impact on public health. However, such measures are having significant impacts on other domains of human activity, including food and nutrition security, jobs, livelihoods, gender equality, and potential social unrest.

The implications will be serious and particularly dire for the poor and vulnerable living in developing countries. It is estimated that the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic could plunge more than half a billion people into poverty, with communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East expected to suffer the most. The impacts of this global health crisis and ultimately the economic crisis will disproportionately affect women and girls and reverse progress on gender equality on many levels. Unless sound and decisive measures are taken fast to keep global food supply chains going and to protect poor and vulnerable communities, a looming food crisis - with serious socio-economic consequences - will become inevitable.

Fish and other aquatic foods are a key part of our global food systems and a highly nutritious food group of major social, cultural and economic significance. Disruptions in supply chains for fish and aquatic foods are already happening due to disruptions in transportation, trade, and labor. Falling production from reduced fishing efforts and delayed stocking of aquaculture systems will lead to lower supplies, access, and consumption of these foods. Decreased consumer demand and increased transaction costs will have a knock-on effect that will push the price of fish and aquatic foods up and make them less affordable for poor consumers. Many people employed in these supply chains, such as fish vendors, processors, suppliers or transport workers will lose their jobs. READ MORE