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Giving Compass' Take:
• Fatema Sumar, at Food Tank, explains coronavirus' potential to devastate the global food system, leaving millions in vulnerable communities hungry.
• Why is it essential to focus on the safety of vulnerable communities as we respond to coronavirus? What are some long-term consequences of the collapse of the global food system?
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 820 million people did not get enough food to eat. As countries deal with this unprecedented pandemic, a danger exists that the crisis will push many more people into hunger. Indeed, the entire global food system may face shocks that will exacerbate the economic and health challenges millions of people around the world face.
The majority of hungry people work in agriculture as producers or laborers, and millions more people living on the edge of poverty work in food value chains. Women are especially vulnerable to food insecurity. As producers, for example, women often face formal and informal barriers to accessing the tools, resources, inputs and financing needed to be successful, earn a decent living from agriculture and escape poverty. The pandemic exasperates their situation and could be disastrous in countries suffering from pervasive poverty, poor healthcare infrastructure, and the absence of robust social safety nets.
Here in the United States, workers in grocery stores are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, risking exposure and possible illness in order to serve us. Many go to work every day because they need a paycheck and cannot afford to miss work. Seventy percent of retail cashiers are women – and women also do the bulk of unpaid care work at home.
Oxfam is calling on US grocery stores to take crucial steps to support the workers in their stores and ensure they remain safe and healthy. Specifically, they must: provide paid sick leave for all their workers, ensure all workers have proper protective equipment and training in order to stay safe, and talk to their workers to develop the best solutions to meet these challenges.
Read the full article about coronavirus' impact on the global food system by Fatema Sumar at Food Tank.