SHANGHAI/ BEIJING: The global coronavirus pandemic threatens to cause a huge shock to international food trade and trigger a new food crisis, a top agriculture official in China said on Monday.
The comments came as coronavirus outbreaks roiled global agriculture supply chains and upended trade, and after some countries restricted exports of main grains and increased procurement for reserves. “The fast spreading global epidemic has brought huge uncertainty on international agriculture trade and markets,” said Yu Kangzhen, China’s Deputy Agriculture Minister.
“If the epidemic continues to spread and escalate, the impact on international food trade and production will definitely worsen, and might trigger a new round of food crisis,” Yu said during a video conference on the country’s agriculture outlook.
The pandemic and measures some countries took to secure domestic supplies have inhibited normal trade and supplies, and caused some major price fluctuations, Yu added. The coronavirus pandemic, which started in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has infected 2.3 million people and killed 159,000 worldwide.
Though China has sufficient grains to meet domestic demand, some other import-reliant farm products like soybeans and edible oils may be impacted by the global pandemic, Yu said. China’s exports of aquaculture, vegetables and tea will be affected due to the disease, Yu added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2020.
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