The COVID-19 outbreak has brought the world back to the essentials: health and food. Fighting the spread of the virus while ensuring access to food has proven to be a challenge in many countries. The loss of income is reducing families’ ability to feed themselves; movement restrictions and lack of labour for planting and harvesting are a strain on the chain that brings food from field to fork. Hundreds of millions of the most vulnerable people are on the brink of acute hunger
, and food insecurity is likely to increase globally.
Landless farmers who produce rice for the landlords of big “haciendas” can’t get more than a little pocket money from their harsh work—not enough to provide diverse and healthy food for their families. Seasonal workers on sugar-cane plantations know that they can count on only six months of earnings. When summer arrives, those whose irrigation facilities have been destroyed by typhoons, or those who never had any, struggle while waiting for the rain.
For millions of children around the world, the COVID-19 outbreak means not getting the most important, if not the only, meal of the day.
Behind the Tiburtina Station, in the East of Rome, with just a small covered area protecting from the inclemency of the weather, sleeping close to each other is the only way to stay warm. A boy of Ivorian origin is alone, far from everyone, in the centre of the sidewalk, exposed to a freezing wind.
For thousands of years, farmers have used genetic diversity to cope with weather variability and changing climate conditions. They have stored, planted, selected and improved seeds to continue producing food in a dynamic environment.
‘Diaspora is the biggest development community that exists in the world’, according to Pedro De Vasconcelos, manager of IFAD
‘s Financial Facility for Remittances
. However, its potential is still largely untapped.
Abdulwahab Tahhan is a journalist and a refugee
. From his exile in London, he documents the war that is devastating his homeland of Syria
, monitoring airstrikes and assessing civilian casualties for the non-profit Airwars