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Supply chains must be shortened and localised, urges FAO…

Whilst addressing the Agriculture Ministers of the G20 countries, the FAO Director-General highlighted essential actions that must be taken in order to maintain the supply chains of the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a major public health concern but also a threat to global food security, one that can be mitigated by avoiding measures that disrupt food supply chains, Director-General of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu, told the Agriculture Ministers of the G20 countries.

“Preserving access to safe food and nutrition is an essential part of the health response,” he said, recommending countries to strengthen local production and shorten food supply chains.

“We need to collaborate with every actor in the supply chain, build public-private partnerships and promote innovation”, Dongyu said at the G20 meeting, convened by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which holds the rotating G20 presidency.

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Speaking on behalf of the FAO, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), FAO’s Director-General also urged G20 ministers to include long-term goals in their policy frameworks. “The crisis opens an opportunity to accelerate food system transformation,” he said, pointing to e-commerce tools as a way to enhance local resilience and bolster direct links between producers and consumers. “New business models are needed. It is the time to speed-up e-commerce in agriculture and food systems across the globe.”

Dongyu also urged the ministers to support the broader use of timely tools such as the Agricultural Market Information System – a G20 initiative hosted by FAO that monitors world supply and price developments – and FAO’s Food and Agriculture Policy Decision Analysis (FAPDA).

The Ministers of Agriculture of the G20 adopted a Ministerial Statement on COVID-19, which reaffirmed “the importance of working to ensure the continued flow of food, products, and inputs essential for agricultural and food production across borders.” It also highlighted that G20 countries “will work together to help ensure that sufficient, safe, affordable, and nutritious food continues to be available and accessible to all people, including the poorest, the most vulnerable, and displaced people.”

The meeting was also attended by the heads of World Health Organization (WHO), World Trade Organization (WTO), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and a representative of the World Bank.

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