Extreme disruption in Food Supply Chain due to COVID-19

The fatality of Corona virus:
The world right now is going through a very rough phase as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected over 140 countries across the globe. Thousands of people have died because of this pandemic. Currently, scientists have no clue at all as to how to cure this fatal virus. Coronavirus is highly contagious, and since there is absolutely no way to cure this disease, hence countries across the globe are going through a lockdown phase. The government of several countries and cities like Dubai, Italy, and India have been observing a continuous lockdown. The purpose of such lockdowns is to break the chain of Coronavirus contagion.

The best possible way to avoid this deadly virus is to wash your hands every now and then with soap and water and keep it sanitized by using alcohol-based sanitizers. You need to avoid touching your face, mouth, eyes, and nose as the virus can enter your body easily if you do so. Coronavirus has the capacity to stay suspended in the air for as long as 2 to 4 hours. It can survive on metal surfaces for a long time. If you accidentally touch those infected droplets, then you are sure to fall prey to COVID-19.

Changes in food habits of people
Because of lockdown and imposition of Section 144 in India, restaurants and food joints have been shut down in order to avoid public gathering and promote social distancing. However, takeaways and home delivery food joints are still working via E-commerce portals. But there has been a steep decline in the consumption of restaurant food. People now prefer to eat homemade food only. No doubt, the virus dies when food is cooked at high temperatures. But, there is no denying the fact that there will still be chances of infection.

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If an infected person coughs or sneezes over your cooked food and then it gets packed ad delivered at your place, you will get infected easily. Similarly, there are chances that your food parcel may have some infected droplets, and again by coming in contact with them, you may get infected.

Impact on food supply chain
The global pandemic is posing a serious threat to the food supply chain. It is exceedingly important to keep the global food supply chain alive and alleviate the consequences of COVID-19 on the food system.

Various issues like complete lockdown of markets, quarantine, border sealing, etc. have created a disruption in the food supply chain. Also, people are getting panicked and hoarding essential goods, food items, sanitizers, groceries, pulses, and so on. This has led to an increase in the prices of these products as supply is less than the demand. The supply chain is on the verge of breakdown as it is struggling to cope with the exceedingly high demand.

At present, about 820 million people across the globe are going through severe hunger. They cannot meet their daily calorie needs. Chronic hunger is a direct threat to their lives. They cannot afford to buy food items by paying high prices and are relying on external sources and government arrangements. Countries that had already been grappling with issues like hunger, insecurity, food shortage, poverty, etc. are hard hit by this pandemic.

Impact on India
India, being an agro-based country, is currently facing a huge food crisis. The farmers are unable to continue with their framing occupation due to coronavirus. They cannot reach out to the market to sell out their yields. Because of border restriction, the transport of essential food items like milk, groceries, medicines, etc. is getting hindered. The school meal programs are also getting disrupted because of this pandemic. The food security of several children is getting affected due to the disruption of such meal programs.

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We need to understand that the food supply chain is a complex structure where different sectors or groups are interconnected, for instance, farmers, agricultural inputs, processing plants, transportation, shipping, and so on. If the pandemic keeps on spreading at such a rapid rate, then this food chain will be tested in the coming days, weeks, or months.

At this grim hour, we must stand together and cooperate with the government. We must avoid the hoarding of food items and essential commodities. Otherwise, the skyrocketing demand will soon result in exceedingly high prices due to the shortage of food. Also, for some time being, we must avoid the intake of restaurant food. Our safety and food security lie in our hands only.

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