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Coronavirus upends global food supply chains in latest economic shock

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  1. skybrian
    From the article: [...] [...] [...]

    From the article:

    The farmers cannot get their produce to consumers because of lockdowns that aim to stop the spread of coronavirus. In India, as in many parts of the world, restrictions on population movement are wreaking havoc on farming and food supply chains and raising concern of more widespread shortages and price spikes to come.

    Across the globe, millions of laborers cannot get to the fields for harvesting and planting. There are too few truckers to keep goods moving. Air freight capacity for fresh produce has plummeted as planes are grounded. And there is a shortage of food containers for shipping because of a drop in voyages from China.


    Indian farmer Anil Salunkhe is feeding his strawberries to cows because the local tourists that usually eat them are gone, as are the fruit vendors that once worked the streets of the nearby metropolis of Mumbai.

    “Nobody was willing to buy strawberries due to the lockdown,” Salunkhe told Reuters as he fed strawberries to a cow in Darewadi village, in Satara district.

    He can’t even give his strawberries away: With stay-home orders in place, few villagers ventured out from their homes when he offered them the berries for free, he said.

    In nearby Bhuinj village, Prabhakar Bhosale feeds lettuce to buffalo and lets villagers take more for their own cattle. The hotels and restaurants that normally buy lettuce are closed.


    Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a 21-day lockdown with just a few hours notice on March 25, leaving many of its 120 million migrant laborers struggling to get home and with no money for rent, food or transport.

    The country’s northern grain bowl relies on labor from eastern parts of the country, but workers have left the farms because of the lockdown.


    In Italy, about 200,000 seasonal workers will be needed in the next two months. The government may have to ask people receiving state benefits to pick the fruit and vegetables, said Ivano Vacondio, head of Italy’s Food Association Federalimentare.

    In France, Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume has issued a rallying cry to what he called France’s “shadow army” of newly laid off workers to replace the usual crews of migrant workers on the farms.

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