UN warns of catastrophic food crunch; Israel says it’s not worried

The heads of three global agencies are warning of the risk of a worldwide “food shortage” if authorities fail to manage the ongoing coronavirus crisis properly.

Many governments around the world have put their populations on lockdown causing severe slowdowns in international trade and food supply chains. Panic buying by people going into confinement has already demonstrated the fragility of supply chains as supermarket shelves emptied in many countries.

“Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market,” says a joint text signed by Qu Dongyu, head of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Roberto Azevedo, director of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdowns, every effort must be made to ensure that trade flows as freely as possible, specially to avoid food shortage(s)” from developing, they say in their statement.

An Israeli police officer walks with Israeli soldiers as they patrol in Tel Aviv on April 1, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Despite reports of shortages of eggs, matzah and other staples in Israel, Economy Minister Eli Cohen tells Army Radio that there’s nothing to worry about

“We have no food shortage. We have supplies for several months.”

— with AFP