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COVID-19, Food and Nutrition Security

The project investigates the effects of COVID-19 on UK food systems
The project investigates the effects of COVID-19 on UK food systems
"World-leading research to provide government, business and decision makers with the evidence that they need to develop a robust food and nutrition security response to COVID-19."

"World-leading research to provide government, business and decision makers with the evidence that they need to develop a robust food and nutrition security response to COVID-19."

New: The project partners have launched a survey to gather data from key stakeholders on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the UK’s food and nutrition security. Access it here.

The COVID-19 pandemic is having substantial consequences on UK and global food and nutrition security (FNS). This project will undertake world-leading research to provide government, business and decision makers with the evidence that they need to develop a robust FNS response to the current pandemic.

The pandemic is causing major shocks to the four pillars of FNS: access; availability; utilisation and stability. Examples include reductions in productivity (labour limitations), breakdown of norms of food systems (distribution, changed demand) and supply chain restrictions (agri-chemicals for crop management). Economic impacts are altering both supply, distribution and demand. Collectively these shocks are substantially altering food systems whilst in the longer-term norms of trade may not adapt appropriately leading to changes in the balance of traded commodities, reduction in food reserves and price increases.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council through UK Research and Innovation COVID-19 response, the project focuses on UK FNS which is heavily dependent on global markets. Half of the food we consume is imported and UK livestock industries rely heavily on imported feed. Some countries have already restricted exports in order to supply home markets. Normal market forces, transportation and distribution networks may no longer be appropriate to provide national requirements. A priority is to understand how to increase capacity for self-reliance to maintain civic stability, a healthy population and to understand the ramifications for third countries. The aim of this study is to conduct an initial rapid FNS risk assessment and explore options for changes in agricultural production, trade and distribution to protect FNS without jeopardising wider ecological and climate goals.

Key objectives:

  1. Assess the current response of global food systems.
  2. Assess UK food system responses and vulnerabilities.
  3. Assess cascading causation of further impacts within a common framework of differing plausible scenarios.
  4. Propose alternative agricultural land use, land management and supply / value chain relationships for improved UK self-reliance and long-term environmental sustainability.
  5. Identify spatial consequences on the environment of pandemic responses and opportunities for improved FNS and food system resilience through sustainable agriculture.
  6. Review lessons learned from the pandemic for adapting the food system to help achieve climate change and biodiversity goals.
  7. Disseminate results and provide recommendations to inform policy development to increase food system resilience.

Publications:

Rivington, M., King, R., Duckett, D., Iannetta, P., Benton, T.G., Burgess, P., Hawes, C., Wellesley, L., Polhill, J.G., Aitkenhead, M., Lozada‐Ellison, L.‐M., Begg, G., Williams, A.G., Newton, A., Lorenzo‐Arribas, A., Neilson, R., Watts, C., Harris, J., Loades, K., Stewart, D., Wardell‐Johnson, D., Gandossi, G., Udugbezi, E., Hannam, J. and Keay, C. (2021), UK food and nutrition security during and after the COVID‐19 pandemic. Nutr Bull, 46: 88-97. https://doi.org/10.1111/nbu.12485  

Chatham House, ResourceTrade.Earth website: UK food and nutrition security in a global COVID-19 context: an early stock take, 6 November 2020.

Chatham House, ResourceTrade.Earth website: UK food and nutrition security in a global COVID-19 context: an update, 8 March 2021.

Principal investigator:

  • Mike Rivington, James Hutton Institute

Co-investigators:

  • Tim Benton, Chatham House
  • Richard King, Chatham House
  • Paul Burgess, Cranfield University
  • Jim Harris, Cranfield University
  • Derek Stewart, James Hutton Institute
  • Cathy Hawes, James Hutton Institute
  • Roy Neilson, James Hutton Institute
  • Gary Polhill, James Hutton Institute
  • Adrian Newton, James Hutton Institute
  • Dominic Duckett, James Hutton Institute

For more information on the project, contact Mike Rivington.

Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project

Research

Areas of Interest


Printed from /research/projects/covid-19-food-and-nutrition-security on 08/05/21 02:22:56 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.