“The pandemic has led to dramatic loss of human life, as well as deep social and economic consequences, including compromising food security and nutrition,” said the FAO, IFAD and WFP in a joint statement on the impact of COVID-19. The fact is, although both the primary sector and the food industry and distribution segments remained open throughout the State of Emergency due to their status as essential services, the food sector overall has suffered (and will suffer) a strong business impact.
Though it is true that the situation caused by COVID-19 has temporarily placed the sector and, above all, its workers (crop farmers, livestock farmers, industry employees, haulers and distribution employees) in the spotlight, giving them unusual recognition for their work, the reality is that the sector faces a complex situation. Now, proper communication with stakeholders has become essential.
During the toughest moments of the lockdown, the entire supply chain was highly proactive in terms of applying safety measures (social distancing, prioritizing card payments over cash payments, using PPE and gloves, etc.). In terms of social support, various distribution chains and the industry itself collaborated with food banks and NGOs to deliver food (Mercadona, Ahorramas, Carrefour, Aldi, Hero España, Ebro Foods, etc.), provide necessary services (for example, Ahorramos opened up its platform at Mercamadrid) or donate PPE. In turn, the crop and livestock farmers, who were certainly affected by the impact on labor, never stopped working in order to guarantee access to quality food throughout the country.