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Food systems and COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean

Risks threatening international trade












​FAO and ECLAC. 2020. Food systems and COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean: Risks threatening international tradeBulletin 3. Santiago, FAO. 



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    The agrifood sector, has not been immune to the Coronavirus, whose string of effects has interrupted the normal operation of food chains. In the agrifood sector, unprecedented problems have led to unprecedented challenges. In Latin America and the Caribbean, food production has not stopped; the workers, although with difficulties, appear at their workplaces. Therefore, when we evaluate in detail the impacts of COVID-19 on primary production, it seems evident that these have not been critical. However, we cannot lose sight of the coming agricultural seasons and monitor, with even more zeal, the disruptions in those sectors most vulnerable to this health, economic and social crisis. We have been foolish and stressed every time we have been able to do it that this crisis is a magnificent opportunity to rethink our production models. Due to their importance, the agrifood systems are an obligatory starting point of the long process of recovery and transformation that lies ahead.
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    The agrifood sector is key in Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of contribution to the economy and employment generation. Hence, the interruption of food systems normal functioning can have severe consequences on poverty levels and food security. In this new issue of the newsletter we analyze the impacts of COVID-19 in the labour markets in the agrifood system.
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    The ongoing pandemic has threatened the food and nutritional security of millions of Latin Americans and Caribbean people. These interruptions in the links of the value chain of the agri-food system have resulted in greater food loss and waste. We are not yet in a position to say when the rate of contagion will decrease, or when we will return to normal. Such uncertainty makes it imperative to analyze how food losses and waste affect food systems, how how this can be prevented.

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