Owing to COVID-19, our routines have not remained normal, we are staying at home prioritizing our health and safety. Same is the case with our farmers, now they are spending more time at home than in the fields or farms. It will affect the production of the raw material, the very first step of the food supply chain, further disturbing the entire process.
Though, according to the authorities, we have enough food to feed the population, but is it delivered to the needy?
Supermarkets shelves are running out of the staples and the most essential food items. Demand is outrageous, but the supply is feeble. There are multiple factors are behind the situation, and all are related to the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus Disturbed the food supply chain, take a look.
To understand it better, let’s talk about different stages of the food-supply chain first. The food that we eat goes through several stages before reaching us in the form we consume it.
The very first step includes raw material production in farms or poultry. Farmers do this with the use of natural resources like soil and water, or animals.
This step involves transforming raw material into an eatable form like conversion of wheat into flour, cleaning and packing of rice, packaging of fruits and vegetables, etc. done to increase the taste and shelf-life of a product.
This step involves the distribution of ready to consume eatables in different markets and grocery shops to let the consumers buy them. This is the last step of a food-supply chain, after which a consumer can consume the food.
All these three stages connect by commuting or delivery of goods from one place to another, which is done on trucks by truckers or on the goods trains. If the raw material will not reach to the factories and remain there on the farms, no matter how much quantity our farmers grow, it will get contaminated and will be of no use.
Similarly, if there would be no means of transporting the goods from factories to markets and don’t reach to the consumers, it will go waste and the food-supply chain will not complete.
Coronavirus, most ascetically hit this medium of supplying the raw material and prepared goods from one place to another. Food is stuck and getting wasted despite ample demand and food-deprived population.
Also, the three stages of the food supply chain are dealing with a dearth of labour and production because of the abnormal working conditions, government orders, and travel bans.
Apart from the reduced food production, food wastage is turned out to be the biggest impact of Coronavirus on world food chain supply. With disturbed supply routes, milk, crops and fresh fruits and vegetables, everything is getting wasted in a large quantity that leads to food shortages due to COVID-19.
The prices of food essentials such as oil, sugar, and meat have sharply increased.
- Graph of increase in the prices of meat worldwide from January 2018 to March 2020.
- Graph of rising of sugar prices worldwide from January 2018 to March 2020.
- Graph showing the rising of vegetable oil prices from January 2018 to March 2020.
Major Factors Responsible For Food Wastage
Closure of Coffee Shops
Coffee shops are closed that were used to consume lakhs of litres of milk every week to fulfil the coffee needs of office goers. The supply of milk that these shops used to get directly from the milk vendors is now disturbed and they are left with no option other than letting their production go waste.
Closure of Restaurants
Same is the case of restaurants, there comes a deep decline in the demand for restaurant food and some of them are even closed resulting in less demand or wastage of raw material. The vendors who used to deal directly with these food-joints are now facing ample food wastage.
Changed Shopping Habits
The outbreak of coronavirus leads to a major change in our shopping habits. Now the people are cooking at home, the demand for fresh produce, flour, and healthy items have increased significantly. They are less likely eating packed and fast food now that again leading to the wastage of some food material.
No Delivery Of Food To The Required Destination
Because of the ban on transportation, the raw material and prepared goods cannot be transported to its destination. This is also a major reason for food wastage as it is stuck where it is.
Closure Of Pubs And Bars
As pubs and bars are closed, the unused stock of liquor and beer is getting wasted leading to a big loss to the industry.
With a rising food wastage, food insecurity is also growing among people leading them to store the stock of food in advance with a fear that they might not able to buy that in lockdown.
At this point, we are experiencing the impact of coronavirus at its peak, but as they say that there is an end to every storm, this situation will also not last for long. Hopefully, this situation will normalise soon and the world food supply chain will get back to normal. Till then, try and avoid food wastage.