The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread economic distress in many countries around the world. For the first time since 2009, the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to have declined in 2020. Alongside other sectors of the economy, such impacts are also being felt by the food and agricultural sector. The pandemic has affected food security and nutrition, supply chains, food and livestock production, and food safety.
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.
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.
The lockdowns and trade restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in shortages of some major food commodities on international and local markets. In this policy brief, we discuss and analyze Georgia's response to the crisis in terms of food security and agricultural policy. Furthermore, we provide recommendations to ensure fewer disruptions in food supply chains and low volatility in food prices.
Images of empty shelves in grocery stores worldwide have emerged amid the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, this has had little to do with an actual shortage of food products but rather has reflected the behavior of panicked consumers who are hoarding food. While some earlier publications perceived no imminent threats from the pandemic to global food security, more recent articles called attention to proper policy responses to reduce the potential negative impacts of COVID-19 on local and global food systems and food security.