The pandemic has stress-tested our food systems, with many set to fail

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Coronavirus has brought enormous setbacks, suffering, and forecasts of a global depression ahead following the closure of so many economies for so long.  However, if there has been one area where it has exposed our global fragility, that area has been food.  Certainly, the curfews, lockdowns and workplace closures delivered an uptick in power cuts, but there is no great clamour about our energy infrastructure now being under threat of failure. Likewise, with water, it remains far from accessible to all, but it has not been plundered by this year’s pandemic. Shelter could take a hit on joblessness and unpaid rents. But the elephant in the room is definitely food.  That fact has not gone unremarked. At the level of international geopolitics, the World Food Programme (WFP) has warned us all that we are moving into a famine of what it has called ‘biblical’ proportions, by which, it is fair to say, the WFP meant ‘humanity threatening’.  That made some headlines yet, on the contrary, not too much concern at street level.    Likewise, economists and academics keep muttering darkly in jargon about food supply chain issues and food security. What they mean is, we are going to be short of food:

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