Food Coalition

Strengthening national and regional market intelligence and policy monitoring in response to COVID-19 and other shocks

COVID-19-induced disruptions to trade, logistics and market flows are making it difficult to maintain the stability of agrifood supply, demand and operations across Europe and Central Asia. Since early April, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been conducting rapid weekly surveys to monitor and assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on agrifood value chains in certain programme countries. Of major concern is the decline in food trade volumes due to logistics disruption, export restrictions, tighter health and safety regulations and border controls, dwindling demand, and fewer sales by small producers. Data collected in June and July 2020 suggest that the pandemic has had implications for transportation, storage, sales, the labour market and the availability of inputs in most countries. COVID-19 has substantially affected the financial situation of agrifood supply-chain operators, shrinking their economic options and triggering undesirable survival strategies to cope with the financial shock, including the sale of productive assets.

COVID-19 is affecting the functioning of all elements of the food system, contributing to market uncertainty and a widespread decline in market confidence. This is down to a lack of effective market information systems (MIS) and early warning systems, particularly in net food-importing developing countries. All agricultural value-chain actors would benefit from better MIS, to help them respond to the effects of COVID-19 and other shocks. Farmers can use market information to identify optimal market channels and plan production and harvest. Better MIS can facilitate efficient decision-making and market connections for agricultural traders. The government can use MIS to promote trade and domestic marketing, to avoid unnecessary or overdue trade restrictions. MIS also provides key inputs to food-security assessments and enables early warnings of impending problems. Reliable price information and MIS support market transparency and informed decision-making by agrifood operators and consumers by providing quality and timely information. A functioning MIS at national and regional level is, therefore, key to supporting urgent and appropriate action in response to the deteriorating challenges of the continuing COVID-19 crisis.

Priority Areas of work: Trade and Food Safety Standards
SDG: 2. Zero Hunger, 3. Good Health and Well-being, 5. Gender Equality, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 12. Responsible Consumption and Production, 17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Level: Regional
Region: Europe and Central Asia
Country: Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, North Macedonia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Budget: USD 2 million


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