Coronavirus measures should not disrupt global food supply: G20 agriculture ministers

RIYADH — Agriculture and food ministers from the Group of 20 countries under the presidency of Saudi Arabia held a virtual meeting on Tuesday to discuss challenges to global food supply in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.

The ministers underscored the need to work together to maintain global food supply chains.

They vowed to guard against any measures leading to excessive food price volatility in global markets or that threaten food supply.

“We will guard against any unjustified restrictive measures that could lead to excessive food price volatility in international markets and threaten the food security and nutrition of large proportions of the world population, especially the most vulnerable living in environments of low food security,” they said in a final statement following the meeting.

"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," the statement added.

The ministers expressed their commitment to close cooperation and taking concrete measures to protect food security and nutrition at the global level.

“We commit to cooperating closely and taking concrete actions to safeguard global food security and nutrition.”

“We acknowledge the challenges of minimizing the risk of COVID-19 while keeping food supply chains functioning. We will continue to work to ensure the health, safety, welfare, and mobility of workers in agriculture and throughout the food supply chain, the statement added.

The ministers pointed out the importance of transparency while praising the commitment of the Trade and Investment ministers of the group to notify the World Trade Organization of any trade-related measures taken, including those related to agriculture and basic foodstuff. They also pledged to impose export restrictions or unusual taxes on food and agricultural products purchased for non-commercial humanitarian purposes by the World Food Program and other humanitarian agencies.

“We emphasize the work of the G20 Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) and take note of AMIS’ assessment that at present global food supplies are adequate and food markets remain well balanced. As members, we commit and call on other members to continue providing timely and reliable information on global food market fundamentals to help markets, countries, and consumers make informed choices. Where appropriate, we will coordinate policy responses, supported by the AMIS Global Food Market Information Group and the AMIS Rapid Response Forum. We call for continued support for AMIS, including through voluntary financial contributions.”

“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 in a timely, safe, and organized manner, consistent with national requirements. Acknowledging the critical role of the private sector in food systems, we call for enhanced cooperation between the public and private sectors to help mobilize rapid and innovative responses to impacts of this pandemic on the agriculture and food sectors, the statement concluded. — Agencies

Source: http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/592164/SAUDI-ARABIA/Coronavirus-measures-should-not-disrupt-global-food-supply-G20-agriculture-ministers

 

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