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COVID-19: Trade restrictions are worst possible response to safeguard food security

In: COVID-19 and global food security


  • Glauber, Joseph
  • Laborde Debucquet, David
  • Martin, Will
  • Vos, Rob


As COVID-19 spreads around the globe, fears of a deep global recession are mounting. Some also fear that food supplies may start running short, especially if supply chains are disrupted. Others fear that agricultural production may be disrupted by containment measures that restrict workers fromharvesting and handling crops. While we should take these concerns seriously — especially for fruits and vegetables, which have complex supply chains, or foods sold primarily through restaurants — they should not be overstated either, especially not for basic staples such as rice, wheat, and maize. Global markets are well supplied, stocks are healthy, production of key staples is unlikely to be disrupted, and prices have remained relatively stable. Trade is allowing production to move from areas of surplus to areas of shortage, avoiding the drastic shortages and food insecurity associated with reliance only on local production.

Suggested Citation

  • Glauber, Joseph & Laborde Debucquet, David & Martin, Will & Vos, Rob, 2020. "COVID-19: Trade restrictions are worst possible response to safeguard food security," IFPRI book chapters, in: COVID-19 and global food security, chapter 14, pages 66-68, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifpric:133833

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    Cited by:

    1. Petrescu-Mag, Ruxandra Malina & Petrescu, Dacinia Crina & Todoran, Silviu Ciprian & Petrescu-Mag, Ioan Valentin, 2021. "Us and them. Is the COVID-19 pandemic a driver for xenophobia in land transactions in Romania?," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 103(C).
    2. Johan Swinnen & John McDermott, 2020. "Covid‐19 and Global Food Security," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 19(3), pages 26-33, December.
    3. Santeramo, Fabio G. & Dominguez, Ignacio Perez, 2021. "On the Effects of the COVID Epidemic on Global and Local Food Access and Availability of Strategic Sectors: Role of Trade and Implications for Policymakers," Commissioned Papers 309037, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    4. Nordhagen, Stella & Igbeka, Uduak & Rowlands, Hannah & Shine, Ritta Sabbas & Heneghan, Emily & Tench, Jonathan, 2021. "COVID-19 and small enterprises in the food supply chain: Early impacts and implications for longer-term food system resilience in low- and middle-income countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
    5. Matthew Stephenson & Mohammed Faiz Shaul Hamid & Augustine Peter & Karl P. Sauvant & Adnan Seric & Lucia Tajoli, 2021. "More and better investment now! How unlocking sustainable and digital investment flows can help achieve the SDGs," Journal of International Business Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 4(1), pages 152-165, March.
    6. Ahmed, Firoz & Islam, Asad & Pakrashi, Debayan & Rahman, Tabassum & Siddique, Abu, 2021. "Determinants and dynamics of food insecurity during COVID-19 in rural Bangladesh," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    7. Sifat, Imtiaz & Ghafoor, Abdul & Ah Mand, Abdollah, 2021. "The COVID-19 pandemic and speculation in energy, precious metals, and agricultural futures," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(C).


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