FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

Press Conferences about COVID-19

Prevent the Pandemic from Turning Into a Food Crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean

FAO and ECLAC present recommendations to prevent the pandemic from becoming a food crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean. On Tuesday June 16, FAO Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Julio Berdegué, and ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena will give a joint press conference to present this report.

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Key messages

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis which is already affecting the food and agriculture sector. Prompt measures to ensure that food supply chains are kept alive, domestically and internationally, to mitigate the risk of large shocks that would have a considerable impact on everybody, especially on the poor and the most vulnerable.
  • Although disruptions in the food supply chain are minimal so far, challenges have been already experienced in terms of logistics. Food needs to move across borders with no restrictions and in compliance with existing food safety standards.
  • To mitigate the pandemic's impacts on food and agriculture, FAO urges countries to meet the immediate food needs of their vulnerable populations, boost their social protection programmes, keep global food trade going, keep the domestic supply chain gears moving, and support smallholder farmers' ability to increase food production.
  • Countries with existing humanitarian crises are particularly exposed to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as their own domestic needs may be rising as a result of the pandemic, it is critical that donor countries ensure continued delivery of humanitarian assistance where food insecurity is already high. The disease does not recognize borders. If left unchecked in one place, the entire human community remains at risk.
  • While there is ongoing research into a potential animal origin of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the spread and development of the current human pandemic is due to human-to-human transmission.
  • There is no current evidence of animals playing a role in the spread of COVID-19. As a general practice, when caring for any kind of animals, always wash your hands before and after interacting with them.
  • Meat from healthy livestock that is cooked thoroughly remains safe to eat. People should not handle, slaughter, dress, sell, prepare or consume meat that originates from wild animals or livestock that are sick or that have died from unknown causes. Raw wild meat or uncooked dishes containing the blood of wild animals should not be consumed, as such practices place people at high risk of contracting many types of infections.
  • Raw wild meat or uncooked dishes based on the blood of wild animals should not be consumed. These practices place people at high risk of contracting any number of infections.
  • Any unusual morbidity or mortality of animals should be reported to animal health authorities.

Photographs of a market in the context of COVID-19

Chile: Mercado Lo Valledor durante la pandemia COVID-19