Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are three main ways to ensure food and nutrition security in Asia during the pandemic: Invest in farmers and agricultural workers, invest in vulnerable communities, and invest in the next generation

• What role can donors play to help strengthen these investments in food sustainability during this unprecedented time? 

• Read about the plight of struggling food supply chains during COVID-19. 

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the food nutrition security situation in Asia?

The global pandemic of COVID-19 is affecting people all over the world. Beyond its impact on the health sector, the disease has had major implications on social, economic and psychological aspects of life. It has disrupted education, work, and food systems and shattered the livelihoods for millions of people globally.

What support is needed to ensure food and nutrition security amongst vulnerable populations in Asia?

Invest in farmers and agricultural workers

Food distribution and functional markets are essential. It is critical to support farmers and smallholders in the food sector so that they can continue to produce healthy and nutritious foods. With the global lockdowns limiting mobility, digitalising key components of the supply chain has been an important trend.

As market-driven solutions lead the way to recovery, in the long run, governments need to develop  appropriate policy measures to ensure the continuity of food systems to serve the people, especially poor and vulnerable populations.

Invest in Vulnerable Communities

People who could not work or lost their jobs due to the pandemic have not been able to provide enough food, let alone nutritious foods, for their families. In a region where pre-crisis malnutrition levels measured amongst children was already at 22.7%, this has worsened the situation even further.

Invest in the Next Generation

For many children in Asia, attending school is not just an opportunity to learn, they are also dependent on schools feeding programmes for their dietary requirements. With schools closed, children no longer have access to these often essential sources of energy and nutritious foods.

Read the full article about food and nutrition in Asia by Annoek van den Wijngaart at avpn.