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Why coronavirus poses as food security challenge, opportunity

IMPROVING access to safe and nutritious food and maintaining food security in times of crises is fundamental to ensuring the prospects of future generations.

Tanzania was recently declared by the Eastern and Southern Africa Small-Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF) as a country, which sustains food security, especially when the Covid-19 scare was high globally.

This follows prudent measures and bold decisions taken by the government under President John Magufuli to contain the deadly global coronavirus pandemic.

While in Kagera Region at the weekend, President Magufuli appealed to Tanzanians to take advantage of the low incidence of coronavirus in the country and increase agricultural output and export surplus to countries that cannot produce due to lockdowns.

Through this the country will make more money and save the people, whose countries are undergoing lockdowns due to Covid-19.

Utilising this opportunity of the Covid-19 pandemic will also enhance the agricultural sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which now stands at 30 per cent only despite providing jobs to more than 70 per cent of the country’s workforce.

According to the World Bank, 2020 marks the most severe increase in global food insecurity, impacting vulnerable households in almost every country.

As the coronavirus crisis unfolds, disruptions in domestic food supply chains, other shocks affecting food production and losses of incomes and remittances have created strong tensions and food security risks in many countries.

Agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity and feed a projected 9.7 billion people by 2050. The agricultural sector’s growth is 2-4 times more effective in raising incomes among the poor compared to other sectors of the economy.

The objective of food security should focus on ensuring all people at all times have both physical and economic access to the food they need.

The aim of food security is to ensure there is the production of adequate foodstuffs, maximise stability in the flow of supplies and ensure access to available supplies on the part of those who need them. When all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food they will maintain a healthy and active life.

Therefore, Tanzanians should capitalise on the coronavirus pandemic and make it not only as a challenge, but also an opportunity to increase agricultural output and generate more earnings.

Above all, there is a need to improve access to safe and nutritious food and maintain food security in times of crises to ensure the prospects of present and future generations.

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Author: EDITOR

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