Máximo: With the crisis in Ukraine, we are going back to core issues we faced in 2007/08, 2011 and the 70’s, where exports of commodities of food, especially cereals, are still highly concentrated in only five countries. This has improved slightly from 2007/08 but not sufficiently. We don't have the geographical disparity to assure a reduction of risk at the global level in case of a shock.
We are also in an environment where, because of climate change, potential shocks could increase, so if today, in addition to what we have in Ukraine and the Russian Federation, there is a bigger drought in Brazil, then we are, for sure, in a huge food crisis.
We also have to be careful that in other commodities, because of the changes and variability in temperatures, diseases will increase and mutate, and also with health issue because of COVID-19. We need to look at it as a system and understand the agri-food system is interlinked with health, potential socioeconomic responses or conflict, zoonotic diseases, and many dimensions we need to consider.
The first element of achieving the resilience we need is understanding that we live in a world of uncertainties and risk, and we need early warning tools and a one-health approach to be prepared, to minimize the risks of zoonotic diseases and have mechanisms of insurance in place that are market-oriented.
The second element is understanding how much we can handle the shock when it occurs, “the absorption capacity”. SOFA 2021 focuses on three sets of indicators that look at the absorption capacity of countries. “Absorption capacity” means: if I have a shock and I am a net importer of food … how do I procure my food? How much do I produce locally? How much do I import of that food? And what is the diversity of stocks I need in order to address that shock? That is extremely relevant today. Why? Because it gives a better idea of how bad or well a country is doing in terms of “absorption capacity”.
The third element is how “to build back” after the shock, to the same level as before or learning from your experiences on how to build back better.