A senior economist at United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and agricultural analysts stated that lockdowns and panic food buying could ignite world food inflation even though there are ample supplies of staple grains and oilseeds in key exporting nations.
With the number of deaths in Italy outstripping those in mainland China and Coronavirus cases ballooned across Europe and the United States, the world’s richest nations poured unprecedented aid into the global economy.
With over 270,000 infections and more than 11,000 deaths, the epidemic has stunned the world and drawn comparisons with periods such as World War Two.
“All you need is panic buying from big importers such as millers or governments to create a crisis,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at FAO.
“It is not a supply issue, but it is a behavioral change over food security,” he stated. “What if bulk buyers think they can’t get wheat or rice shipments in May or June? That is what could lead to a global food supply crisis.”
Consumers across the world from Singapore to the United States have queued at super markets in recent weeks to stock up on items ranging from rice and hand sanitizers to toilet paper.
“The concern is having food at the right time in the right place.”