NASA Harvest colleagues at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), including food market experts Joe Glauber, David Laborde, Will Martin, and Rob Vos, address the damaging effects that imposing trade restrictions would have on global food security in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic in their recent blog post, COVID-19: Trade restrictions are worst possible response to safeguard food security. While many citizens around the globe are worried about maintaining the food supply during these unprecedented times, the researchers emphasize that the global market supply is healthy, reduction of staple crop production is not likely, and market prices are currently fairly stable.
Of particular note is that the consistent state of the global food supply market is due to ongoing normal trade operations which allow products to move freely from areas where there is extra production to areas where there is a shortage of production. As long as trade remains open and operational, countries do not have to rely on local production alone to supply citizens with food. Thus, trade restrictions are counterproductive to food security and would overwhelmingly affect access to food for the poor who are already experiencing lowered income due to restrictions put in place during the disruption of the pandemic.
Read the full post to learn more about how trade restrictions negatively impact food security, comparisons of the COVID-19 recession to the 2007-2008 recession, and the advice of food security experts to keep food prices and availability stable.