Director-General  QU Dongyu

FAO and the European Union highlight the need to keep food supply chains open in times of the COVID-19 pandemic


24 April 2020, Rome/Brussels - FAO Director-General QU Dongyu held virtual talks today with Phil Hogan, the European Commissioner for Trade. Both parties stressed their full agreement on the importance of keeping food supply chains open in times of the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed ways to strengthen their collaboration on this issue.

The EU commissioner and the Director-General concurred on the vision that trade restrictions and stockpiling are counterproductive, may threaten food supply and hamper COVID-19 response. They agreed to collaborate closely on facilitating trade in foods and ensuring global food security.

During the talks, both parties pointed to the crucial role that farmers around the world play in providing safe and healthy food during the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing the importance of supporting smallholder farmers, in particular.

The FAO chief highlighted the need to accelerate the food systems transformation and introduce new business models facilitating trade in the face of the COVID-19 realities. To this end, both parties agreed on the need to develop e-commerce and other digital tools in food supply chains offering opportunities to facilitate trade in many parts of the world.

The Director-General also briefed the EU Commissioner on the actions the Organization has taken over the past few weeks in the immediate response to the COVID-19 emergency as well as the latest information and policy briefs on food markets and food prices which the Organization provides through the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) and the Food and Agriculture Policy Decision Analysis (FAPDA).

The Director-General expressed his appreciation for the EU’s longstanding support to FAO in its key areas of work, including the Organization’s ongoing emergency campaign against the desert locust outbreak in East Africa.

For his part, the EU commissioner reiterated the EU’s continued support for the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the FAO/WHO Codex Trust Fund to improve national capacities to engage in developing food safety standards.

In addition, both parties agreed to explore ways to work closely together on food system transformation to produce better, more nutritious food, reduce food loss and waste, and change consumption patterns.