The COVID-19 pandemic raised concerns about the food security of many countries, in particular import-dependent developing countries like Georgia. Trade restrictions imposed by Georgia’s trade partners tightened the supply of some cereals and vegetables, signalling the risk of an increase in food prices.
The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent stringent lockdown measures have had a drastic toll on the Georgian economy. The economic downturn has significantly affected the resilience of local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), whose sales decreased by almost 13% (YoY) in the first two quarters of 2020. These negative impacts of the economic contraction have been particularly severe for Women-led Small and Medium Enterprises (WSMEs).
“Food safety risks cannot be entirely eliminated but must be managed along the entire food chain, from farm to table. Reducing food safety risks requires collaboration across sectors, stakeholders and national borders” Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.
Covid-19 has exposed many countries to severe healthcare and economic crises, which have disproportionally adversely affected the most vulnerable and low-income parts of society. The current pandemic crisis, however, has also brought some interesting opportunities to light.
Food supply systems are crucial to the economies of most developing countries, supplying the largest share of food production, and constituting livelihoods and a key source of income for the majority of the population (FAO, 2020). It is therefore vital to maintain the steady flow of goods and services required from local and international food supply chains to ensure the health of the population, and to protect their incomes and livelihoods.