Food security during the period of self-isolation
The food ecosystem includes everything that means food with all the processes involved, from the farm to the fork, such as processing, distribution and preparation, consumption, but also various parties involved (eg infrastructure, agricultural contributions, environment, farmers, traders, retail, shipping and institutions). The isolation of the population at the beginning of April means one third of the world’s population was in self-isolation and blocked or created a difficulty in all interactions in this ecosystem and some global food security alerts.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (OAA), supermarket shelves remained just as full during this self-isolation period.
In order to avoid a massive shortage of food, it is very important for countries to ensure the continuation of food supply chains. Accordingly, the OAA suggests specific strategies, for example, expanding emergency food assistance programs and providing immediate assistance to smallholder agricultural production by stimulating e-commerce. It also proposes to focus on key logistical bottlenecks (eg transport of obstructed food in the provinces and perishable foods such as fisheries, vegetables and fruit), addressing fiscal and trade policies to keep the supply chain moving and implementing measures.
In the Wuhan and Northern Italy regions, where COVID-19 predominated in the first months of the pandemic, strategic measures were taken to ban the exploitation, illicit trade and storage of food, respectively. These measures have eliminated the acute shortage of food in the affected areas. Empty food racks were only temporarily observed and mainly in urban areas where various vegetables could not be delivered. Measures have been taken to connect food businesses with retailers and small producers. To this end, various platforms, mobile applications for basic shopping or applications that stimulate e-commerce have been developed.
In countries such as the USA and Japan, where governments do not intervene very frequently in the area of trade, there are questions and concerns about how the need to maintain continuous production and the need to protect workers can be better managed. Intervention measures should aim at connecting small producers to higher-capacity collection centres, but also at supporting e-commerce platforms to reduce mobility.
In addition, now more than ever we have the opportunity to promote practices to reduce food loss and waste. In particular, information and communication technologies (ICT), applications, Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, BIG Data and artificial technology can be used to collect real-time data to improve communication between suppliers and buyers and to simplify the redistribution of information. food. Applications that use Big Data and artificial information could be implemented to connect farmers and suppliers with markets and to get quick responses if changes in demand occur.
Mobilizing food banks, non-governmental organizations, community groups and private charities to deliver food (while families are at home) during the deadlock could help in this direction.
Dahna phone application supports and maintains in balance the food supply system. The ingredients are purchased exactly in the quantities the user needs. Moreover, it quickly generates the shopping list.