Panic buying and widespread lockdowns amid the Covid-19 pandemic could create serious global food inflation despite the high supply of staple grains and oilseeds.
“All you need is panic buying from big importers such as millers or governments to create a crisis,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), according to a report by Reuters.
Read the FAO’s Q&A: COVID-19 pandemic – impact on food and agriculture.
Fears over rising food inflation are being driven by “behavioral change over food security,” Abbassian said. If these major food buyers believe they will not be able to secure wheat or rice shipments in the coming months, that may lead to immediate panic buying and a “global food supply crisis,” Abbassian said, according to the report.