In the decades before the COVID-19 crisis, Asia had taken great steps to reduce poverty. The socioeconomic fallout of the pandemic, however, has raised the possibility that gains on poverty could be lost. The situation has also increased concerns related to food security and nutrition. With a strong track record of helping governments respond to shocks from climate change and food price crises, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT is well positioned to support our partners in managing COVID-19’s impact on food systems. The current crisis triggered a 3.11% decrease in agricultural production, with a subsequent decline in agricultural labor impacting more than 100 million individuals in Southeast Asia alone.
While the primary focus of governments is on the COVID-19 public health crisis, the measures taken to control the spread of the virus also triggered widespread global disruptions that affected food systems. The uncertainty this brings threatens long-term food security, especially for more vulnerable sectors.
The Alliance in Asia is working with governments, research organizations, and NGOs to help safeguard food systems in the region by testing quick-response measures, monitoring and mitigating current impacts, improving and accelerating responses, and facilitating recovery.