COVID-19: Channels of transmission to food and agriculture

Experts from FAO analyse how the emerging COVID-19 pandemic affects agricultural markets – both on the supply and the demand side.

The report COVID-19: Channels of transmission to food and agriculture was published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in April 2020. It sheds light on the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on agricultural markets. Effects that are still largely unknown. 

Most current assessments generally foresee a contraction in both supply of and demand for agricultural products, and point to possible disruptions in trade and logistics, according to the authors.

On the supply side, widely different views remain on the duration of the shocks, the price dynamics, differential impacts between domestic and international markets, differences across countries and commodities, the likely paths of recovery, and the policy actions to remedy the various shock waves.

On the demand side, there is near ubiquitous agreement that agricultural demand and trade would slow-down, with contractions stemming from a deceleration in overall economic activity (GDP growth) and rising rates of unemployment. While food and agricultural systems are exposed to both demand- and supply-side shocks (symmetric), these shocks are not expected to take place in parallel (asynchronous) since, inter alia, consumers can draw on savings, food stocks and safety nets.

The report aims to identify the channels of transmissions into the food and agriculture sectors and, based on this, to delineate the degrees of exposure to the COVID-19-induced shock by geographic region and includes a country taxonomy of the exposure. The identification of the primary channels of transmission and a classification of countries based on exposure to the effects of the COVID-19-induced pandemic aim to assist countries and international organisations in formulating remedial interventions.

(FAO/ile)

Read more and download the report COVID-19: Channels of transmission to food and agriculture at FAO website