UN warns of 'global food emergency’

June 2020

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

The world is facing a global food crisis, reports the United Nations. On Tuesday 9th June, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: "Unless immediate action is taken, it is increasingly clear that there is an impending global food emergency that could have long term impacts on hundreds of millions of children and adults".

Over 800 million people around the world already do not have enough to eat, although there is enough food to feed everyone. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused further disruption to supply chains, forcing delivery systems into failure. 

To save lives, the UN has recommended three essential steps: Countries should designate food services as essential, strengthen social protection systems for nutrition and transform food systems to achieve a more inclusive, sustainable world.

Lecturer in agriculture Henry Mathews said: "This is a serious situation that may have a devastating impact on populations around the globe, including countries that previously benefitted from secure food systems.

"Crops that reach the harvest and post-harvest stage may fail to get to the consumer as a result of insufficient labour for picking, processing or transportation, though this will vary sector by sector. Milk, for example, has been tipped away when restaurants and coffee shops were shut and potatoes destined for chip shops and other outlets remained in store.

"We're proud of our students and alumni, who are already working to bring nutritious, sustainable food to people across the globe. Now more than ever the agricultural industry needs a growing number of skilled people to help tackle issues and apply fresh thinking with new approaches."

For more information on WUC's approach to agrculture, go to writtle.ac.uk/agriculture