2020 is proving to be one of the most challenging years the world has faced in a very long time. Coronavirus continues to fluctuate in reported cases worldwide, with many developing and third world nations currently experiencing the worst of the global pandemic.
One devastating impact of COVID-19 is the breaking down of food supply chains and the consequent shortage of food worldwide. We’re now hurtling towards one of the largest and most unprecedented hunger crises. It is believed that as many as 132 million people, who were not projected to go hungry in 2020, will face a shortage of food.
Food for Life is right on the forefront, trying to work with COVID restrictions and continue to help feed those most vulnerable on our planet. We are just one of many organizations fighting to help all those we can despite the chaos.
It has been feared that the spike in hungry individuals this year could be as much as triple that of any increase we’ve seen in hunger for over a century. As COVID-19 restrictions continue to wreak havoc across the world, the global pandemic is dismantling precious supply chains, infrastructure, and crippling economies along the way.
The unprecedented hit on our world markets has led to instability in some of the poorest and most desperate countries on the planet. It is now thought that more people will die from hunger by the end of 2020 than people will die from the virus itself.
Inactive Supply Chains Lead to Food Rotting in Fields
Even the countries with established food stability are now facing food shortages. No country has been left untouched by this pandemic, with people going hungry in New York to Nigeria due to upended food supply chains.
We now have a situation where people are starving in the same country as food is being left to rot in farmers’ fields just a couple of hundred miles away. Without the proper supply chains and infrastructure to move goods in addition to travel restrictions, farmers and food companies cannot move their produce around the country.
In the USA, we have witnessed farmers’ videos with gigantic piles of potatoes left to rot. In Uganda, food sellers can’t sell even the most discounted fruits and veggies, because people have lost their jobs and are left with nothing. Venezuela is now on the brink of famine.
The pandemic has revealed the preciousness and vitality of our food industry. But, it also revealed how we’re at the mercy of those same systems. Some are now calling for more localized and decentralized food systems to avoid another crisis like this in the future.
At Food for Life, we know all too well about the world’s broken food supply chains. We hope that COVID-19 is a wake-up call to those in charge that these supply chains need to be updated as a matter of urgency. We also hope the crisis serves as a prompt for the increase of better quality infrastructure that is desperately needed to help feed those in need.
In addition to exposing our troubled food systems, coronavirus has uncovered our world’s deepest inequalities. The virus has uncovered many systemic inefficiencies and vulnerabilities and decided for us who shall eat and who shall not. While the super-rich continue to accumulate vast amounts of wealth during the pandemic, the world’s most vulnerable are being left with even less.
Countries that are financially well off have supported their people with stimulus payments to keep them going. However, in poorer countries, many people have lost their job with no safety net or governmental protection. This has led to huge spikes in unemployment, hunger, and homelessness.
We now have a situation where many families can’t afford to feed themselves with no hope of going back to work anytime soon. Global relief efforts and government stimulus has helped somewhat, but it’s proving not to be enough.
Food for Life has continued its worldwide efforts to feed as many people as we can with nutritious plant-based meals, despite the chaos COVID-19 and lockdown measures have caused. We are working hard with organizations and governments to continue our vital work as much as possible.
People need us now more than ever.
The effects will be felt for decades.
Countries, governments, and our communities worldwide are likely to feel the effects of this pandemic for decades to come. Farmers worldwide have been hit hard, and recovering may not be simple if they cannot afford to carry on operating.
Supply chains will need to be restarted, but companies that work along the lines feel the immense pressure of economic downturn. Much of the infrastructure that has taken so long to build in developing nations has come undone in a matter of months.
Getting things “back to normal” is going to be an immense challenge that many, including those in power, do not fully understand in terms of the level of foresight and organization needed. It is reported that these infrastructure issues will likely continue to cause worldwide problems for at least another 12 months.
During this time, the instability of food supply, global markets, and economies are set to continue. This is simply an unprecedented crisis that the human race is ill-prepared to deal with.
All of the issues we face now will probably have a domino-effect for decades to come. Food insecurity and its implications have been documented to continue for decades after crises. As a result of COVID-19’s impact, projections for malnutrition across the world have increased.
Malnutrition has taken an enormous toll on communities. It weakens immune systems, limits mobility, and can even impair cognitive brain function. Children who are victims of malnutrition at an early age feel its devastating impact well into their adult lives.
The consequences for young children include the inability to stay in school due to reduced cognitive function, difficulty finding work, and being locked in a cycle of poverty.
It’s for these reasons that our work at Food for Life is now more critical than ever before. Post-COVID-19, whenever that will be, many communities will require more meals than ever to prevent malnourishment. But we can’t do it alone!
How you can help
While we can’t control many systemic and social consequences of the pandemic, we can help support the organizations on the frontlines to deliver aid and food to the most vulnerable during this time.
Please donate to Food for Life today to help us continue to deliver highly nutritious plant-based meals to thousands of people and children worldwide! We need your help during this time to allow us to continue to feed those who have been left behind for decades and continue to face the repercussions of broken systems and chronic poverty.
Donate today, and help us save lives!
Food For Life Global’s primary mission is to bring about peace and prosperity in the world through the liberal distribution of pure plant-based meals prepared with loving intention.
Mr. Turner co-founded Food for Life Global in 1995. He is a former monk, a veteran of the World Bank, entrepreneur, holistic life coach, vegan chef and author of 6 books, including, FOOD YOGA, How to Build a Successful Food Relief, and the Food for Life Training Manual. Turner has traveled to 72 countries over the last 35 years helping to establish Food for Life projects, train volunteers, and document their success.