This research considers the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated government policies on the global trading system and its ability to deliver food to impoverished people. Income and price shocks are considered as they impact the ability of low-income households to acquire food. We estimate the impact of the pandemic on food security in 80 countries. We find increased food insecurity predominantly driven by income rather than price shocks.
We analyze the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated policy responses on the global economy and food security in 80 low- and middle-income countries. We use a global economy-wide model with detailed disaggregation of agricultural and food sectors and develop a business-as-usual baseline for 2020 and 2021 called “But-for-COVID” (BfC). We then shock the model with aggregate income shocks derived from the IMF World Economic Outlook for 2020 and 2021. We impose total-factor productivity losses in key sectors as well as consumption decreases induced by social distancing. The resulting shocks in prices and incomes from the CGE model simulations are fed into the USDA-ERS International Food Security Assessment (IFSA) model to derive the impact of the pandemic on food security in these 80 countries. The main effect of the pandemic was to exacerbate the existing declining trend in food security. Food insecurity increases considerably in countries in Asia through income shocks rather than prices effects. We also review trade policies that were put in place to restrict imports and exports of food, and we evaluate their potential for further disruption of markets focusing on the food-security implications.
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