Food Coalition

Strengthening governments' capacity to invest in food and agriculture with socio-economic cost-effectiveness for post-COVID-19 recovery

Governments are currently mostly focusing on the emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day, however, governments are realizing that their country’s economy must recover from the unprecedented recession, given the serious impacts on the livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations and their food security. Considering only hunger as an example, FAO scenarios suggest that the number of undernourished people will vary according to the severity of gross domestic product (GDP) growth contractions, ranging from 83 to 132 million globally in 2020 (see http://www.fao.org/3/ca9692en/CA9692EN.pdf) .  

Some governments are, in fact, rolling out fiscal and monetary stimulus to conserve economic growth and support safety nets for the newly unemployed. However, many low- and middle-income countries lack the tools to deploy liquidity injections and public spending commitments. The international community must facilitate their capacity to act, but also they will have to exert fiscal responsibility and objectivity in reallocating their own resources toward the economic recovery.

It is critical that governments consider options to stimulate the economy towards its full recovery in order to keep all scenarios pointing to rising hunger and poverty from materializing. Policies for recovery will have to consider, among others, those sectors that are important for employment generation and the livelihoods of millions of people, particularly the poor and most vulnerable. Agri-food sectors are particularly important in this regard, especially in the context of low- and middle-income countries.

Investment in agri-food sectors is urgently needed to trigger economic stimulus. Nonetheless, in the context of recession, as the current one, lack of confidence, significant uncertainty, growing capital and financial losses, lack of credit, and so forth, result in significant risk aversion in the private sector. It is unrealistic to expect that the private sector will take the lead and invest in food and agriculture at this time, at least not to the extent needed for a full economic recovery. Governments will then have to take the lead in investing, in order to send the right signals and enable the environment for recovery.

Priority Areas of work: Data for Decision-making
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 10. Reduced Inequality, 17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Level: Global
Region:
Country:
Budget: USD 1 Million

Action Sheet:  CB2044EN.pdf

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