Sow, reap, eat: lessons from the pandemic

The number of people going hungry as a result of the measures to contain the pandemic has risen dramatically. At the same time farmers all over the world are unable to offload their products due to disruptions in production processes and supply chains as well as decreasing demand. The crisis is highlighting the interdependencies in the food supply chain, prompting reflection on inadequacies and new solutions.

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Le Drenche (FR) /

Everyone gains from short supply chains

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis consumers in France are increasingly turning to local produce markets and sources for food products. The French government wants to promote short supply chains. Clémence Fernet from La Ruche qui dit Oui!, a distribution network for local products, demands in Le Drenche that they should be made compulsory:

“The more middlemen are involved, the less fair the remuneration for the producer is, and the greater the pressure on prices. Making short supply chains compulsory would permit fairer remuneration of those who are at the forefront of our food supply. ... Short supply chains benefit everyone: the producer gets fair economic opportunities, the consumer eats better and knows how what he buys is produced, and agriculture as a whole becomes more resilient, more supportive and more environmentally friendly.”

Les Echos (FR) /

Make the agriculture of tomorrow a reality

In his speech on the corona crisis on April 13, Macron stressed that France must regain its independence in agriculture. Elodie Vieille Blanchard and Frédéric Mesguich explain in Les Echos how this can be achieved:

“The triple crisis in the areas of health, economy and the environment is pushing us to rethink our agricultural model. ... Tomorrow's food chain must include solutions for farmers that create jobs as well as innovations: upgrading vegetable growing areas, agroforestry, conservation tillage, short supply chains and innovative alternatives to conventional products. ... A visionary food policy requires not only defending yesterday's economic interests, but above all creating a place for those of tomorrow.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Food security also for the South

The NGO network Coalition contre la Faim calls in La Libre Belgique for a long-term, holistic approach to improving food supply chains:

“If the short-term priority is to preserve trade and the availability of food at affordable prices, Belgian investments in the agricultural development of the countries of the South must make sustainability and food security a central objective. They must target as a priority the agroecological transformation of food systems and the development of local value chains. These political choices must encompass food systems as a whole in order to also respond to other current societal challenges such as climate change, social injustice and poverty.”

hvg (HU) /

Hunger triggers vicious circles of events

The pandemic has severely disrupted workflow processes in the US pig industry since mid-April. Many animals are being slaughtered due to the lack of space at overcrowded facilities. Hvg reacts bitterly in view of the political dimension of hunger:

“If we look at the bizarre emergency culls in the US, the spread of hunger, which has caused many riots and other disasters in the past, seems even sadder. ... In the Middle East many speak of the wave of uprisings that began ten years ago and the ensuing chaos as a 'revolution of hunger'. This led to civil wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen and to the wave of refugees in 2015, which then provided an excellent propaganda opportunity for the populist-nationalist forces in several European countries and in the US.”