The G20 Agriculture Ministers held a virtual meeting today to maintain close cooperation to address impact of Covid-19 on food supply and take concrete actions to protect global food security and nutrition. During the meeting, the G20 Agriculture Ministers highlighted the importance of ensuring “the continued flow of food, products, and inputs essential for agricultural and food production across borders, in line with the G20 Leaders’ Statement on COVID-19 of March 26, 2020.” G20 Agriculture Ministers said that they acknowledge the challenges facing member states in minimizing the risk of the pandemic on food supply while keeping food supply chains functioning. They called to avoid “any unjustified restrictive measures that could lead to excessive food price volatility in international markets and threaten the food security and nutrition of large proportions of the world population.”

“We agree that emergency measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic must be targeted, proportionate, transparent, and temporary, and that they do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global food supply chains, and are consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules,” G20 Agriculture Ministers said in a statement, stressing the importance of the G20 Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS).

“We commit and call on other members to continue providing timely and reliable information on global food market fundamentals to help markets, countries, and consumers make informed choices.” G20 Agriculture Ministers will work closely together “to ensure that adequate, safe and nutritious food continues to be available and accessible to all people, including the poorest, the most vulnerable and displaced people” in a safe, timely and orderly manner, in line with national requirements. G20 Agriculture Ministers called for “enhanced cooperation between the public and private sectors to help mobilize rapid and innovative responses to impacts of this epidemic on the food and agriculture industries”. They stressed the importance of avoiding food losses and waste caused by food supply chains disruptions, which would aggravate food insecurity, nutrition risks and economic loss.They urged to enhance the sustainability and resilience of food systems at a global level, “including future shocks from disease and pest outbreaks and the global challenges driving these shocks.” “In line with the One Health approach, we call for strengthened mechanisms for monitoring, early warning, preparedness, prevention, detection, response, and control of zoonotic diseases, and developing science-based international guidelines on stricter safety and hygienic measures for zoonosis control,” said Ministers. G20 Agriculture Ministers thanked farmers, workers, and small, medium and large-sized agri-food businesses for their ongoing efforts to ensure food supplies for all. Ministers expressed willingness to work closely with relevant international organizations and within their mandates to strengthen international cooperation, identify additional measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on food security and nutrition, and share best practices and lessons learned. They said that they will take any additional measures as necessary to contain the pandemic, confirming their readiness to reconvene as required.