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Corona outbreak and its impact on Food Supply Chain

Food supply chain is the set of mechanisms and operations that involved in supplying food from their production sites towards the consumers.

Whole world is coping up with the novel coronavirus from last 5-6 months, this virus has affected almost all the aspects of life.

In the developing countries like in Pakistan the effects are more severe which ultimately affected the National Economy of Pakistan.

But here in this article I will discuss the major constraints of COVID-19 associated with Food Supply Chain.

What is Food Supply Chain?

First of all we have to know about the general definition of food supply chain. So, it is the set of mechanisms and operations that involved in supplying food from their production sites towards the consumers.

There are many steps involved in the transmission of food items. During each of these steps, there must be proper handling practices so the whole process should be approached without any loss.

Despite of the fact, world’s food production is enough to feed all the subcontinents but the flaws and gaps in the food supply chain produces surplus food yield in many countries which results into food waste.

On the other hand there are many countries where people can’t even get enough meal once a day.

Additive with the emergence of COVID-19, the food supply across the globe is facing troublesome. Every country has faced a big drop in their exports & imports industry.

How COVID-19 is Affecting Food Supply in Pakistan

COVID-19 has greatly affected the Pakistan by leaving more than 2,50,000 cases till date.

In the prevailing situation government of Pakistan imposed new rules and regulations to fight against this Novel Corona Virus, these newly imposed laws and rules disturbed the balance of food supply and affected the food industry.

In many areas of Pakistan, food supply is not enough to fulfill the demands of consumers.

Rural areas are providing the crops yield to entire country but in the situation of crises, they even don’t get enough food supply.

Statistics from different reports shows that in rural areas of Pakistan food supply mechanism requires too much attention because in developed urban cities we have food wastage ratio which can easily fulfill the optimal demands of rural areas. 

It’s obvious that proper handling and management is necessary to balance the food supply and demand in an efficient way.

Implement of Strict Lockdown

We’ve faced strict lockdowns for the past two to three months which resulted in reduced production of food items.

Food processing Industries are operating with less man power because in the prevailing situation Government is not allowing more strength in industries. 

Where the food production is low, food supply will be definitely disrupts.

Restricted Transportation Services

As per Directions of World Health Organization, all the states either paused their domestic and international flights or they allowed them to operate with specific restrictions.

This situation caused the serious collapse as food items are not exporting to different regions.

In the developing county like Pakistan, we do not have well facilitated storage options so high amount of food and agricultural products are at high risk of to be wasted.

How to Overcome The Gaps in Food Supply

Separate Department to Address Food Supply Issues

We are in need to propose such a system of food supply that ensures that the maximum number of people get the safe, secure and nutritious food at their nearest points.

There should be respective department associated with the food supply chain.

Effective marketing & Supply chain mechanism should be implemented so the post-harvest crop losses and food supply losses should be minimized.

Proper Storage Space

Government and related departments should store the surplus food in storage spaces within their own custody.

As we have recently faced different crises because man made shortage was developed to get more revenue.

Storing the food for future use is not bad practice, but selling them at double triple rate is against the law of humanity.

So govt itself should develop strategies for storage of food, so the country does not face shortage during hard times.

Precautionary Measures for Hotels & Restaurants

Government has granted the limited permissions to for hotels and restaurants to entertain take away order only.

But safety measures should be taken to provide safe and Nutritious food to consumers.

Despite, there’s currently no evidence of the spread of Coronavirus through food items, but still precautionary measures should also be taken.

Hotels, restaurants and Kitchen related staff should follow the precautionary measures laid by Government and Health Departments, and their aim should be to provide nutritious and safe food to the consumers. 

Conclusion

In many areas of Pakistan, food supply is not enough to fulfill the demands of consumers.

Rural areas are providing the crops yield to entire country but in the situation of crises, they even don’t get enough food supply.

So govt itself should develop strategies for storage of food as well as precautionary measures in hotels and restaurants

Conclusively, the country does not face shortage during hard times

Written By M. Sufian Saeed, BSc. (Hons.) Agri. Food Science & Technology, PMAS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi.

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