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COVID-19 and impacts on global food systems and household welfare

The food system, and those who depend on it, have been strongly but unevenly affected by COVID-19. Overall, the impacts on food systems, poverty, and nutrition have been caused by a combination of a generalized economic recession and disruptions in agri-food supply chains. This paper provides an overview of the contributions to this Special Issue of Agricultural Economics.

Poverty reduction through the development of inclusive food value chains

Propelled by urbanization, rising incomes, and changing diets, food markets have been expanding in Africa and South Asia, creating the vast potential for job and income opportunities along food supply chains and, hence, for poverty reduction. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that spread to a pandemic in early 2020 provokes enormous setbacks to this expansion. This, however, should provide lessons regarding the importance of resilient and inclusive food systems.

COVID-19 risks to global food security

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, trade-offs have emerged between the need to contain the virus and to avoid disastrous economic and food security crises that hurt the world's poor and hungry most. Although no major food shortages have emerged as yet, agricultural and food markets are facing disruptions because of labor shortages created by restrictions on movements of people and shifts in food demand resulting from closures of restaurants and schools as well as from income losses.

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