From the French Revolution to the Arab Spring, price rises and food shortages have fueled conflict, toppled leaders and overthrown regimes. In this COVID-19 pandemic, countries may face an excruciating trade-off between saving lives or livelihoods or, in a worst-case scenario, saving people from the corona virus to have them die from hunger. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and oil-exporting countries may be severely affected as they are net importers of food with populations that are dependent on income from remittances and tourism.
Yuan Longping, the Chinese agricultural expert, said China is completely able to achieve self-reliance in terms of grain production but said the COVID19 pandemic serves as a warning for those who are lax on food security. The coronavirus has done more than disrupt supply chains, it’s restarted a discussion about self-sufficiency tinged with nationalism. A lot of countries have introduced restrictions on overseas sales of grains or rice since mid-March, which serves as a wake-up call to governments.