Aiming For Food Security in a Post COVID-19 Times
As different countries around the world have started lifting their lockdowns and businesses have started opening to the public, new safety measures have been implemented. From wearing face masks, to standing over 6ft apart from other people,to limited seating at restaurants, just to name a few.
As a whole the agricultural sector never dwindled down, it had to rise to the occasion and become an early adopter of new safety practices in order to stay in business. Sadly, due to the lack of uniformity in safety measures some businesses were more affected from COVID-19 than others. As was the case of the meat industry in the US. According to Alire Garcia and Huffstutter’s article “Smithfield Foods, [...], as well as JBS and Tyson Foods have since April temporarily shut more than a dozen U.S. plants after thousands of workers contracted the virus.”
This one link in the food supply chain broke because there were not strong enough safety measures implemented in those meat packing plants. This break created job insecurity for producers, packers, distributors and retail companies. It also created food insecurity for all of those individuals and their customers.
Placing safety measures that have been specifically tailored to different arenas of the supply chain is a great way to keep the food supply chain from getting eroded. Ensuring workers are safe is ensuring their livelihood and ensuring the economy will keep in motion. But it is not the only area where the agricultural businesses can innovate.
Earlier this year, as different governments were implementing lockdowns and quarantines many people started buying in bulk. Some of them feared that grocery stores would close, while others avoided taking as many trips to the supermarket to lower their exposure outside. This resulted in empty shelves for several weeks of a variety of food items.But this disruption in the food chain supply was not due to a shortage of supply, it happened because of the incredible increase in the demand. Since there are still no vaccines for COVID-19, health authorities around the world are speculating about future outbreaks. The agricultural sector needs to be prepared for no food shortages to occur.
Real time food traceability can help create a more malleable food supply chain and deliver better results to fast changing situations, as it is the new normal of a post COVID-19 world. As the Worldbank, in conjunction with FAO,IFAD and WFD, stated on their site on April 21,2020 “Collective action is needed to ensure that markets are well-functioning, and that timely and reliable information on market fundamentals is available to all. This will reduce uncertainty and allow producers, consumers, traders and processors to make informed production and trade decisions and contain panic behavior in global markets.”
With real time product traceability food supply chains will have a greater chance to modify as the needs of the markets change and vary. The same way agricultural businesses have shown innovation and adaptability in safety measures, the future of the supply chain is demanding an update, a chance to demonstrate innovation such as real time product traceability.
Migrating towards more responsible and sustainable practices can be tricky for companies and producers. At FGH International Agribusiness Consulting, we can help support your company take the next step into the future. We offer agricultural consulting and business services solutions that merge sound agronomic principles with economic business objectives. Our solutions empower producers and processors to keep track of their performance and set realistic and attainable goals. We also help develop improvement plans for each stage of their journey to a more sustainable production.
Our value proposition not only focuses on agricultural consulting, but also in business service solutions within Latin America. We help our customers reach above and beyond certification/verification levels and we pay close attention on maximizing our partners ROI, consistent with cost-effective and sustainable agronomic practices. To find out more about how our solutions can help you or to share how to support suppliers on their journey to excellence, please feel free to contact us, FGH’s International Agribusiness, Latin America's leading agribusiness consulting firm.