Supply Chain Council of European Union |

APEC Needs To Build Greater Food Systems’ Resiliency: Report

APEC member economies need to remain vigilant and
proactive in their efforts to build greater resiliency in
food systems and in addressing connectivity and supply chain
obstacles in the trade of agricultural products, according
to a new policy brief by the APEC Policy Support

“APEC member economies are already facing
challenges in food security due to shifts in consumer demand
and growing population,” said Dato’ Haslina Abdul Hamid,
Chair of the APEC Policy Partnership on Food Security.
“The pandemic is adding pressure to food security in the

“Hence, we must pursue coordinated
initiatives to keep food trade open, facilitate
connectivity, and expedite customs clearance of food
products,” she explained.

The policy brief, Food
Security Response Measures to COVID-19
analyses multifaceted challenges throughout the entire
food system, from production to distribution and market
access. It identifies the economic issues affecting food
security and puts forward policy recommendations to
strengthen regional food security.

The report notes
that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to
the production of several food products, particularly those
that require intensive use of labour, such as meat
processing facilities and fruit and vegetable packing
plants. Outbreaks among food production workers and the
unavailability of temporary migrant workers could impact the
economy’s ability to produce food.

economies need to ensure that reductions in production
capacity do not occur in multiple food sectors at the same
time, which could potentially cause a breakdown in the
overall domestic and international food supply chain,”
explained Carlos Kuriyama, Senior Analyst with the APEC
Policy Support Unit

Most food products
are shipped by sea. Although most of the major seaports in
the region have remained open and shipping lines have
continued to operate the analysis shows that there have been
substantial delays in shipping times for sea freight due to
reduced container capacity as well as stringent border
measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

To tackle
distribution bottlenecks, the report recommends that APEC
member economies establish clear guidelines at ports of
entry concerning the mobility of shipping crews and other
transport workers, as well as expediting customs clearance.
Policymakers are also encouraged to accelerate wider
applications of digital technology at the

Accelerating the adoption of digital tools
will also help address the notable shift in consumer
patterns of food products. For example, many restaurants
have been forced to close. But others are offering delivery
service to bring food directly to customers through digital
platforms. The report highlights the case of small-scale
farmers and fishermen in the region who have taken a similar
approach and turned to e-commerce and mobile money for the
first time in order to connect with buyers and

The report further recommends APEC
economies to consider food trade as an essential component
of food security and to avoid protectionist measures such as
export restrictions and policies which are not based on
evidence and scientific risk assessment.

agriculture and food industry officials as well as private
sector representatives will convene virtually later this
week to further discuss strategic measures to address the
challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis and improve
resiliency in food systems. Following the meeting,
agriculture and food ministers and senior representatives
will also meet virtually at the Ministerial Policy
Dialogue on Food Security
on 27 October, chaired by
Malaysia’s Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries,
Datuk Seri Dr Ronald

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