RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — G20 agriculture ministers on Tuesday pledged to ensure “sufficient” global food supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic as the UN warned the number of people facing acute hunger globally could nearly double.
“We 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,” said the ministers from the 20 most advanced economies.
“Under the current challenging circumstances, we stress the importance of avoiding food losses and waste caused by disruptions throughout food supply chains, which could exacerbate food insecurity and nutrition risks and economic loss,” they said after a virtual meeting hosted by the group’s current president Saudi Arabia.
As COVID-19 lockdowns disrupt the global economy, the G20 ministers also said they were working to prevent “excessive food price volatility” in international markets.
The ministers stressed it was important that coronavirus restrictions do not create “unnecessary barriers” to trade and food supply chains.
The number of people facing acute food insecurity could increase to 265 million in 2020, from 135 million in 2019, as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, the United Nation’s World Food Programme warned on Tuesday.
The warning came as a report by the WFP and its partners said food insecurity had already risen last year before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.
It found that 135 million people in 55 countries were living in acute food crises or outright humanitarian emergencies last year.
© Agence France-Presse