Power Failure: Covid-19 exposes Industrial Food Chain’s inbuilt structural weaknesses
In 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, lockdowns, concentrated markets, logistics disruptions and the spreading health crisis combined to ramp up hunger and food insecurity, with nearly 12% of the global population – 928 million people – severely food insecure.4 Climate change grew more apocalyptic – wildfires in Australia; severe drought in the southern cone of Latin America; crippling floods and locust plagues in sub-Saharan Africa – and exacerbated acute hunger and misery. Extreme volatility and staggering economic inequality have now become defining features of global food and agriculture markets, with asymmetrical impacts: even as global food insecurity, food prices and hunger soared, Big Food and Big Ag posted record breaking profits. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic brutally unmasked the extreme vulnerability of a highly centralized, industrialized food system that exploits workers and relies on “just-in-time” global supply chains that are non-transparent and susceptible to disruption and corruption. Corporate concentration is a fundamental driver of these and other failures – across every link of the Industrial Food Chain.