December 8, 2020

COVID-19 and its Lingering Impact on US Food Systems

 *This is part of our series on the nexus between COVID-19 and food systems.

Truthfully, it’s been quite a life-defining and uncertain year 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has continually posed an unprecedentedly lingering impact on my eating habits as well as on the U.S. food and socioeconomic systems. It is pertinent to note that even before the pandemic, the small farms were disappearing, a few banks were being bailed out, small agribusinesses bankruptcy was rife, and U.S. - Chinese trade wars. The food systems are also evolving due to inherent systemic racism and police brutality. The inequality and randomness impact of food systems was certainly aggravated by the murder of George Floyd in the heat of COVID-I9 pandemic.

The pre-pandemic food supplies and increased trade integration contributed to geographic spread of agri-food supply chains in the U.S. Invariably, all food products including fresh groceries, bread, fruits, vegetables, poultry, beverages, processed foods, red meats, fish and other edible consumables were always available at the grocery stores – Wholefoods, Safeway, Food Lion, Target, Costco, Walmart, Harris Teeter, etc. However, the first month of the pandemic created acute shortage of food supplies in the shelves.

The pandemic crippled food ordering books for large and small groceries stores throughout the spring and summer, thereby creating supply delays or backlogs. At the start of the fall, groceries orders began trickling in again, but the damage is done and making most food supply chain players with revenues percentages losses compared to 2019 year’s levels. The pandemic shows that the food systems are neither risk averse nor shock-absorbing to the COVID-19 disruptions. By implication most of the food items such as groceries, sanitation items and water were not available in these stores in the beginning of the pandemic.

As an economist, my thoughts were how network models and other economics science tools could identify sources of food systems risks stimulated by the pandemic and provide workable policies to enhance antifragility, thereby appropriately preparing for the future of food supply risks in the U.S in particular and the United States Mexico and Canada (USMCA) trade space in general. The USMCA trade deal was robustly designed to achieve colossal success, especially from a food systems viewpoint. In the first three to five months of the pandemic, I was always at Costco Wholesale to purchase yummy dino buddies for the kids, and there were none. For many weeks running in summer until fall, there was shortage of yummy dino buddies. When the yummy dino buddies supplies finally arrived at Costco from Canada, a very strict rationing policy was implemented so that one could only purchase one packet per family and until now when you can purchase three packets per Costco card holders, bearing in mind that the pandemic made most workers stay home without income and the U.S. government also closed its borders to all its neighbors in order to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the absence of yummy dino buddies, it was really challenging for the kids to adapt to other food items such as tinned green peas and peanut butter.

Though the 2007/8 global ‘black swan’ was a trio food, fuel and financial crises, the fragility within the systems has not been reduced but instead it has been multiplied with people incurring higher debts with food, fuel and the financial crisis. In 2008, I was a regional agri-food policy analyst at the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the 2007/8 global food crisis was really critical. Today, the unsustainable solution to the global 3F crisis has aggravated the current impact of this pandemic such that the U.S food system is much more fragile than it was twelve years ago. By implication, the food and socio-economic systems have become less robust and shakier due to the pandemic. However, a few agri-food sub-sectors are better off but the whole food systems is not. For instance, the food e-commerce was better off, and as a prime member of Amazon, I embarked on online purchases for groceries from Whole Foods.

My family totally missed our community farmers’ market which provided us with fresh and organic foods. In 2019, we were looking forward to the Fall 2020 Farmers’ Market season at Archwood Green Barns, Warrenton, and Rappahannock Farmers Markets. Invariably, we also missed the family get together space for music and relaxation at the Warrenton Farmers’ Market (Please see our picture at the music section of the Warrenton Farmers’ Market).

Family relaxation spot at Warrenton Farmer's Market before COVID-19

The Liberty Community Church, its leadership and members provided the ecosystem to reflect on our spiritual and nutritional growth in the sense that its pantry section provides food items for community members. Thereafter, there are hot cups of coffee and tea with church members every Sunday morning as well as the mid-week services.

Given that children have been home without going to schools for about seven months and now are resuming virtual learning since Fall 2020, this has implications for household food and snacks consumption, expenditure, budgeting, and health outcomes. The increased consumption of snacks and continuous compliance with washing hands incessantly makes one intensely aware of how we forget to follow these precautions before eating snacks most times. In spite of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Virginia State Health and Human Services and Fauquier country public schools collaborative efforts to promote fresh fruits and vegetables consumption among kids through the Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health (FRESH), unhealthy snacking behavior  is incongruent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans DGAs 2020 – 2025 Agenda. Further, it is relevant to note the crucial role of the Fauquier Community Food Bank and Thrift Store in reducing the fragility of our community food systems during the pandemic.

At this juncture, food banking plays a great role in enhancing the capacities of food systems, as well as strengthening institutions towards eliminating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition for the vulnerable population, especially in the emergency situations like this COVID-19 pandemic. According to Feeding America, a slow economic recovery and food supply chain challenges will exist throughout the year 2020. Most food banks that have been providing feeding and other nutrition needs experienced about 120 per cent increase in need, with a 45 per cent increase in new clients.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its inherent implications on fragile communities have rattled food systems experts to the point that they are looking beyond traditional solutions towards embracing innovative processes, approaches ideas, knowledge, and technologies. In response to these challenges, and in an attempt to reduce the randomness and disorders of the food and nutrition security policy space in the U.S., the No Hunger Food Bank and Systems Corporation (NHFBS) was established during the Summer 2020. NHFBS aims to deploy the most innovative technologies to enhance nutritional security among minority populations towards realizing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) Agenda in the U.S. In addition, a similar initiative, known as the No Hunger Food Bank Initiative (NHFBI) was formalized with the goal of eliminating hunger and realizing United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) II for Africa.

Regardless of how the U.S. food systems have evolved during this pandemic, the ‘black swan’ outbreak has given all food systems stakeholders a reason to reevaluate how to make farmers’ markets and food supplies chains more innovative. In addition, this will make agri-food actors more prepared by identifying better ways to accomplish community shared food supply chain strategies which are well enabled with the systems not only in the US, but also all over the world.

Digital, medical (vaccines) and scientific approaches as well as social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions are being deployed to flatten the COVID-19 curve and decrease the rate of new cases. In spite of the containment policies being enforced by the U.S government to crush the virus, the number of infections has risen dramatically since the first week of March. In fact, the U.S has more confirmed cases and deaths than any other country worldwide. By implication, the food system is under great pressure towards making agri-food value chain actors evolve to become more antifragile. In response to the disruption wrecked on the U.S. food systems largely due to the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the socioeconomic, the U.S. Government implemented the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Act is the first national emergency program to reduce the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on Americans, including farmers, ranchers and the food systems. Although not entirely novel, and as a preparedness strategy for the future, it is crucial to reinvent the food systems policies and approaches towards making them more antifragile through increased consumer-centered and community driven food systems and by data driven insights. According to Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the U.S and global approach should not be to eliminate the virus but rather to de-multiply the spread of the pandemic. Optimistically, there has been encouraging news on vaccines discoveries and distribution, thereby shaping 2021 as a likely better year even if the food shortage and safety precautions that have been in place since March linger throughout the first half of the next year.

Gbadebo Odularu, PhD

Bay Atlantic University & Socio-Economic Research Applications and Projects (SERAP), Washington D.C;

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July 29, 2020

COVID-19 and Food Systems: Ghana’s Perspective

* This is part of our series on the nexus between COVID-19 and food systems.

Ghana in Brief
The Republic of Ghana is a country along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean, in the sub region of West Africa. Estimates put its population at 30 million with the capital city being Accra. Rural and urban settlements represent 68% and 32% respectively while about 52% of the labour force is engaged in Agriculture with 29% in services and 19% in industry. Agriculture contributes to 54% of Ghana’s GDP, and accounts for over 40% of export earnings, while at the same time providing over 90% of the food needs of the country (Ghana FactSheet). The nature of Ghana's agriculture is predominantly smallholder, traditional and rain-fed.

Vegetable market at Makola, Accra

Covid-19 outbreak and protective measures in Ghana
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is an easily transmissible disease that was identified  December 2019 in Wuhan, China and declared a pandemic by WHO on 11 March 2020. Ghana’s Ministry of Health confirmed the first two cases of the novel coronavirus on March 13, 2020. Both people tested positive for the disease after their return from a trip abroad. To prevent its spread of the virus, the Ministry of Health of Ghana advised people to follow the global preventive protocols by observing good personal hygiene, avoid shaking hands, and practice social distancing. Since then, the government has put in place several measures to further curtail the spread, including closure of all entry ports and borders, quarantining and testing of exposed persons, testing of symptomatic individuals, contact tracing, travel, and social restrictions. In his first address to the nation on the pandemic, the President, Nana Akufo-Addo announced the closure of all schools in Ghana, from the basic level to the tertiary level, suspension of all religious activities and funeral celebrations beginning 16 March 2020, among other measures. In furtherance to the above measures, a partial three weeks lockdown was placed on two largest cities in Ghana, Accra and Kumasi on March 27.

All these restrictions imposed a great deal of hardships and inconveniences on every citizen both young and old across the length and breadth of the country. Estimates indicate that the government spent about Ghc54.3 million (approx. $9.5 million) on cooked food during the 21 days lockdown period which was given to some 470,000 vulnerable individuals and families in the lockdown areas. However, terrified by a potential risk of food shortage during the pandemic, Ghana instituted measures to keep the food system safely running as an essential sector, markets were well supplied with affordable and nutritious food and consumers still were able to access and purchase food despite movement restrictions. It is interesting to note that the market participants were mainly the poor and the vulnerable as their survival depends on what they do each day in the markets hence was not much concerned about the consequences of the disease while the rich stayed home and observe the strict protocols and depended much on their stored food stuffs.   

Cooked food distribution process during lockdown in Accra

Food situation before COVID-19
Before COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana, Ghana’s food system and distribution was quite good with an abundance of food due to the government programme of Planting for Food and Jobs which was introduced in 2017 to address the declining fortunes of agriculture in the country. The first model of the programme is to ensure food security crops, such as maize, rice, sorghum, soybean and vegetables. This has since been expanded to include groundnut, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, cassava, cowpea, plantain, sweet potato and orange. Some of the successes of the programme after two years include 24% increase in rice production, 72% increase in maize production, 39% in soya bean and 100% increase in sorghum. Consequently, Ghana had started exporting maize to some of our neighbouring countries including Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Togo. Also, Ghana’s production of yam, cowpea, cassava and plantain have significantly gone up, so much that exportation to other countries in the sub-region is ongoing now. This therefore presents a stable food system in the country prior to the pandemic. Ghana’s food system and policy interventions have created opportunities for smallholder farmers to be more productive and relevant to livelihoods. These smallholder farmers are responsible for the provision of an abundance of quality foods to meet the growing needs the urban population. Additionally, open air markets are essential in Ghana since it is the distributional route for food as good marketing system stimulates sales of the produce to potential buyers for consumption.

The Lockdown effect on food system after the Covid-19 outbreak
The immediate effects of the outbreak of the disease and the corresponding containment measures announced pertaining to the restrictions affected people who rely on casual labour to achieve their daily bread. Furthermore, there was panic buying of food within the few days preceding the targeted lockdown which resulted in higher food prices thereby reducing the purchasing power of lower socioeconomic status of individuals and families. In view of this, evidence suggests that some poor households could not stock up on food and therefore resorted to coping strategies such as reducing the quantity of meals or reducing the frequency of mealtimes which has implications on their health status.

Another issue concerns the nutritional contents of the food consumed in the period. The problem is the increased consumption of highly processed foods, increased overall food intake leading to over nutrition, particularly in children with a reduction in physical activities as the overall lifestyle has become sedentary. More specifically, families of high socioeconomic status, in preparation for the lockdown and other restrictive protocols as well as the uncertainty surrounding when normalcy shall be restored, stocked up on food stuffs and processed foods. Therefore, the chances are that they stocked up more on the later which are more convenient and less perishable.

The food system in the era of new normal

It is becoming increasingly clear that the pandemic is not setting us free any time soon as the case count keeps rising each day thereby creating a new era of adjustment in all spheres of life. In view of this, Ghana needs to consider and address four important issues in the food system. The first has to do with consumer protection as demand for products with bioactive food ingredients and adoption of healthier diet to boost immune systems increase. Secondly, attention should be focused on food safety in order to prevent the spread of the virus from one point to another, thus from producers through retailers to consumers. The third issue is that as the pandemic lingers on, there are disruptions in the food supply chain which are affecting food production, and loss of income thereby creating tension and food security risks in the country. Lastly, the sustainability of the food systems in this pandemic era is another matter of concern to be addressed.

Another major area of concern which requires urgent attention is the labour and agro-input shortages due mainly to movement restrictions, social distancing rules which have started to affect producers, processors, traders and trucking or logistics companies in food supply chains, particularly for food products that require workers to be in close proximity and seasonal workers who migrate from neighbouring countries to work on farms in Ghana. At the same time, loss of income and remittances from families abroad is reducing people’s ability to buy food and compensate farmers for their production. Food producers also face large losses on perishable and nutritious food as buyers have become limited and traders stop engaging with farmers.

The coronavirus disease outbreak has exposed some weaknesses in Ghana’s food system  yet it also presents an opportunity to reconsider the production, distribution and consumption strategies so as to build a healthier and more sustainable food system in the country. In furtherance to this, the food system requires a holistic transformation from production to consumption. Therefore, policy-makers should decentralize and democratize the process by inviting all players in the food systems,. In this sense, as the central government provides the necessary impetus and scheme for the transformation, local and subnational actors should be able to identify and outline their own food systems to depict their interests, values, resources and goals. Authorities and research communities should quickly identify the most critical threats to the food system during this pandemic in order to implement mitigation measures.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.  
Successes of planting for food and jobs highlighted at the 9th Pre-harvest Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conferences. Agrihouse Foundation. Nov 10, 2019.     
COVID-19 Ghana’s Outbreak Response Management Updates. Situation Update Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Ghana as of Thursday Apr 09 2020 12:27:04 Available online:
COVID-19 and the risk to food supply chains: How to respond? Policy Support and Governance. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available online:

COVID-19: Ghana records two case. Daily Graphic on 12 March 2020.
Ghana FactSheet – Ghana Statistical Services. Available online:

WHO Director-General’s Opening Remarks at the Media Briefing on COVID-19—11 March 2020. Available online:
Abel Fumey, PhD
Department of Economics
University of Ghana
Legon, Accra, Ghana

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July 24, 2020

COVID-19, Social Distancing, and Food Prices in Nigeria

* This is part of our series on the nexus between COVID-19 and food systems.

The most recently discovered infectious disease COVID-19 is purported to have began in Wuhan, China, around November-December 2019 though traces of the virus have been found in Barcelona, Spain as early as March 2019 (June 29, 2020, Global News). The novel virus has spread across many countries and is now a pandemic, affecting many global economies. Since the disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from nose or mouth, tiny aerosols in the air or through contact with surfaces, it necessitated keeping distance of at least one meter, but usually two between people. The World Health Organization and other epidemiologists have raised people’s awareness of the need for social distancing, which became crucial to curb the spread of the virus. When Edward Hall a cultural anthropologist, in 1963 conceived the word proxemics to describe research regarding social distancing in daily living, it was generally unimaginable that a virus, which was 100 times much smaller than even a bacteria, could cause a dire concern regarding proximity in humans, though knowledgeable people remembered the devastating effects of the 1918 H1N1 pandemic flu which killed upwards of 500 million people (CDC &P, Mar. 20, 2020) . 

Iyana-Iyesi Market, Ota, Ogun State 

The Nigerian Food Market and the Lockdown Waves
Globally, there have been concerns, anxiety, desperate measures because of the pandemic. Issues ranging from hygiene, isolation, and social distancing has been topical in these times. Nigeria is known as the most densely populated black nation globally, with over 200 million people. For Nigeria, the story has been no different; the country has been through waves of lockdowns and movement restrictions over the past months to alleviate the spread of the virus. However, stopping peoples' gathering has been impracticable for the country, as much as the government attempted severally to achieve with the imposition of movement restrictions. For instance, the food markets have not been closed all through the pandemic. The best that was attained was the reduction in the number of days the markets opened at the inception of the first two weeks lockdown, which started March 30, 2020. 

An unmindful Shopping Attitude of Nigerians
The average Nigerian has a very queer shopping attitude, believing that they must physically be in the market to shop. The structures of the market fit a chaotic description, especially for the major ones. The typical Nigerian market is a picture of congestion and chaos. In this situation, a customer may negotiate with about five sellers before eventually buying an item, and physically touching then wares at will. Also, shoppers do not have access to mobile money or online transfers; hence they shop with cash, are delayed further in the market, collecting their balance from a transaction. Social or physical distancing is impossible in this sort of setting, especially where the people do not have a good understanding of how the disease spreads. However, a small proportion of shoppers do not physically appear in the market; rather they place their orders via social media platforms like the WhatsApp group forum. This has been in existence before the pandemic and further entrenched during the period of the outbreak, particularly for those who are quite aware of the essence of social distancing, and have sufficient money to pay for the suppliers’ commission and delivery charges.

Bodija Market Ibadan

Food Supply Shortage and Price Hikes
The lockdowns and the gradual easing of the movement restriction aimed at reducing the spread of the disease, has resulted in dire economic effects globally, and Nigeria has not been left out of this global recession. This period led to a reduction in access to credit, farm inputs, transport services to transport food, and the closure of the borders which also resulted in the shortage of food importation. The situation, as mentioned earlier, resulted in a limited supply of food, which also caused a rise in food prices. The consumer price index for food has been on the increase all through the pandemic period. From 14.9 percent in February 2020 to 15.18 percent in June 2020, showing an increase of about 0.28 percent within only four months, and a forecasted increase to 17 percent which is expected by September 20201 (Trading Economics, 2020).

These increases have been relative. They have cut across all kinds of food items, ranging from potatoes, yams, other tubers, bread, fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and even food convenience products.  the food price rise varies relatively across the country. The worst-hit by food inflation has been in Sokoto, Plateau, Gombe, Edo, and Kano states, with rates 17.12 percent, 16.99 percent, 16.96 percent, 16.71 percent, and 16.45 percent (year-on-year) respectively. At the same time, the states with the least food price rise were Bayelsa, Katsina, Bauchi, Nasarawa, and Ondo states with rates 11.89 percent, 13.04 percent, 13.04 percent, 13.5 percent, and 13.53 percent respectively (Nairametrics, 2020). 

Consequently, after the lockdown, the price of food items has consistently been on the increase. For instance, a paint bucket of Cassava flakes (Gaari) used to sell for 400 but now trades at 800,  a 100 percent price increase. A big bag of pepper which formerly sold for 7,000, now sells for 15,000, indicating a price increase of 114.3 percent. In the same vein, other commodities as well show price hikes. Products like onions, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, fish, rice, palm oil, and beans recording percentage increases of 30.77 percent, 150 percent, 127.3 percent, 9.52 percent, 5.84 percent, 22.73 percent, and 15.75 percent respectively (Nairametrics, 2020).

The Resolve of Nigerians to Survive the Pandemic
Meanwhile income and means of livelihood have been on the decline since the pandemic’s inception. Employers of labour including banks have laid off staff and introduced salary cuts. Entrepreneurs and business owners have experienced a slow business trend and hence lower income. How then could people be able to cope in this precarious circumstance? How are ends supposed to meet, when even the basic needs of life like food, cannot be provided? How could the populace manage to access the vaccines when they are available? The palliatives provided by the government at the inception of the lockdown in March 2020 have been long exhausted. The private sector interventions by well-meaning Nigerians and the private sector intercessions like CA-COVID are also depleted. Yet, the people are resilient and determined to survive. A dire need for an economic transformation is desired for Nigeria. What will become of the inequality gap for Nigeria? Will it increase?


‘Coronavirus traces found in Spanish sewge sample from Mar. 2019’ June 29, 2020. Global News.

Trading Economics 2020. Nigerian Food Inflation Forecast.

Nairametrics 2020.


Nairametrics 2020. Prices of food items jump across Lagos markets, as traders lament transport fare hike.

Folasade Adegboye, PhD
Guest Contributor
Department of Banking and Finance
Covenant University. Ota

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June 20, 2020

Food Availability during COVID-19 Pandemic in Qatar

* This is part of our series on the nexus between COVID-19 and food systems.

State of Qatar, one of the Gulf Cooperation Countries’ (GCC) biggest economies and less populous countries, is being hit hard by the impact of the COVID - 19 pandemic. A sharp fall in international oil prices, has seriously affected Qatar like other major players in the oil and gas industry.  The pandemic outbreak has led to fragility in food security. There is little doubt that there is an impending issue of food insecurity, not only in Qatar, but also in many other nations.

The threat to the availability of food and balanced nutrition arises because of the pandemic’s disruptions except insofar as proactive measures are taken to protect people’s food security. This has been echoed repeatedly by the United Nation (UN), Food, Organization and Agriculture (FAO) and the World Bank. However, this situation is being taken care successfully in Qatar based on their policy and quick reaction to ease the burden of disrupted access to relatively cheap food.  The various factors that are playing important roles to attain this feat are explained below.

Fresh Produce Market in Doha, Qatar

Qatar Food Reserve/ Adequate Food Stock Policies
Prior to the pandemic Qatar was a proactive country that has a robust food policy to ensure that food is always available. The State's strategic reserve of food items is sufficient to sustain people for more than a year, which invariably makes the country less vulnerable to irregular food availability. Qatar have adequate emergency food reserves, or strategic stocks, that are well maintained. These reserves are held at the national level. The pandemic could not really have an adverse effect on food availability because the established emergency reserves are enough to sustain the country for more than a year. This assertion is corroborated by a statement made by the HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari that food availability can last for years.

Food Importation
Like every other GCC countries, a larger percentage of food and other edible items are imported because they are situated in desert where soils are relatively unproductive for agriculture. The country's import policies remain unchanged and are being maintained without any alteration whatsoever. This invariably allows most of Qatar’s relevant players in the food chain function effectively, which consequently makes food available at the various outlets to meet the demand of customers. Despite local production, the importation of food items does not infringe at all on food imports both through the air and through sea. The processing of food consignments at various ports is accelerated so that food gets to the wholesale markets earlier enough and subsequently to the retailer and final consumers respectively. Finally, the existing financing instruments such as bank loans are relaxed and made more flexible because of this pandemic crises. The financial institutions ensure the provision of import financing so that food importers are assisted at this crucial time in order to address or handle any potential food price volatility. These measures have made the availability of food stable through this trying period.

Food Price Stability
Qatar’s relevant institutions are playing vital roles to ensure that food prices are stable so that everyone can have stable purchasing power to buy food, which makes food available to Qatar’s consumers. Those measures include the encouragement of heavy investments in the local agricultural production and productivity, which makes food abundant in various food selling outlets at stable and reasonable prices. Also, the policies on ground encourage the farmers and private sector to intensify more food production. In addition, there is tremendous transparency and timely dissemination of information relevant to policies related to food security.

A new Central Market, Al Sailiya, Qatar

Provision of palliative initiatives
Qatar government, institutions and charity organization took drastic measures in response to COVID 19 to put in place initiatives targeted at taking adequate care of residents and expatriate professionals as well as workers in Qatar. Enough food was made available through a well-designed and coordinated mechanism involving the various embassies and mission houses in the country responsible for various nationalities. People who cannot afford food visit their embassies to collect food that can last them for weeks. The system has been orderly and functional. As a Nigerian, I collected my palliative food at the Nigerian Embassy at the arranged time. Apart from the government, charity organization and individual continue to distribute food to the people.
In conclusion, considering the aforementioned facts, the availability of food at affordable price during this trying period is maintained based on the several measures the Qatar Government put in place before the crisis and these measures continue to be sustained.  

Mr. Suraj .A. Bello B. Agric., MSc. MBA, ITPM (UK), PhD (In view)
Guest Contributor
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences
Qatar University, Qatar.

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May 22, 2020

Resolving asymmetric information....


People consume food not only to satisfy hunger but also for cultural, religious and social reasons. In Islam there is an emphasis on cleanliness in both spirit and food (Agriculture and Agri-food Canada 2011). Eating is perceived to be a form of worship (Talib et al., 2015). Halal is Islamic dietary law derived from the Quran and Hadith, the practices of the Prophet Mohammad, Ijma and Qiyas (Regenstein et al., 2003). Halal goes beyond religious obligation. It is part of the Islamic way of life which includes not only dietary requirements but also behaviour, speech, dress, and conduct (Talib et al., 2015a). Furthermore, observing the tenets of halal can guarantee food safety and serve as a business model for the Canadian export market. The benefits of halal notwithstanding, a lack of trust in the market can jeopardize the food’s perceived authenticity and provide traceability challenges. This especially affects Somali, Syrian, Pakistani and Afghani Canadians who prefer halal meat’s taste and require it for cultural and religious reasons. New policies are therefore a prerequisite to strengthening the halal food value chain thereby reducing asymmetric halal information.

To explore please on the link below:

Adekunle, B., Filson, G. Understanding halal food market: Resolving asymmetric information. Food ethics 5, 13 (2020).
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April 27, 2020

Behind The Aroma - Episode 5 (The Shared Platter)

1.     Adekunle, B., (2020). Cultural Illusion. ECV Ontario Blog.

2.     Adekunle, B., (2018). Autonomous Vehicles and Agri-Food Value Chain. ECV Ontario Blog

3.     Adrian V. Jaeggi and Carel P. van Schaik (2011). The evolution of food sharing in primates.  Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Vol. 65(11).

4.     Bahuchet, S (1990). Food Sharing Among the Pygmies of Central Africa. African Study Monographs. II (I): pp 27-53, June 1990.

5.     Bazile D., Bertero D., Nieto C. (2015). State of the art report on quinoa around the world in 2013.  The dynamics of the global expansion of quinoa growing in view of its high biodiversity, Publisher: FAO / CIRAD, pp.42-55.

6.     Bogaard A, Charles, M., Twiss, C. K., Fairbairn, A (2009).  Private pantries and celebrated surplus: storing and sharing food at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Central Anatolia. Antiquity, Vol. 83 (321) pp. 649-668

7.     De Backer, C J. S., Fisher, M. L.,  Poels, K., Ponnet, K., (2015).  Our" food versus "my" food. Investigating the relation between childhood shared food practices and adult prosocial behavior in Belgium. Appetite, Vol 84, pp 54-60

8.     Fieldhouse, P (1996).  Community shared agriculture.  Agriculture and Human Values. Vol. 13, pp 43–47

9.     Isaac, G (1978). The Food-sharing Behavior of Protohuman Hominids Author(s): Scientific American, Vol. 238(4), pp. 90-109

10.  Lost Crops of the Incas: Little-Known Plants of the Andes with Promise for Worldwide Cultivation (1989). The National Academy of Sciences Engineering Medicine.  Chapter: Quinoa. Pp 148 – 161

11.  Michael Gurven, M., Hill, K., Kaplan, H., Hurtado, A., and Lyles, R. (2000).  Food Transfers Among Hiwi Foragers of Venezuela: Tests of Reciprocity. Human Ecology, Vol. 28(2).

12.  Quinoa in the Kitchen. G. Canale & C. Spa, Borgaro Torinese (Turin) (2013). Retrieved on April 1st 2020.

13.  Stewart, J. L., (1869). Punjab Plants Comprising Botanical and Vernacular Name and Uses.

14.  Springer, K (2020). From Pakistan to the Caribbean: Curry's journey around the world. CNN • Updated 23rd January 2020.

15.  Ziker, B. J., (2005).  Food Sharing at Meals Kinship, Reciprocity, and Clustering in the Taimy Autonomous Okrug, Northern Russia, State University Michael Schnegg. 2005 Jun; Vol.16(2): pp. 178-210.

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February 23, 2020

The Butcher's Impressions

Butcher's Store

Below is a conversation between a butcher and one of his customers.

Butcher: Hello Mr. Hamad

Mr. Hamad: Good afternoon IB. Please can I get four kilograms of organic chevon?

Butcher: "Organic chevon"? I sell zabiha meat here. In other words, my meat is halal.

Mr. Hamad: So, you think halal is only about the slaughter process (zabiha). I have explored the field and learnt that 100% halal should be organic, GMO free, quarantined when exposed to antibiotics, avoid exposing animals to stress and no growth hormones.

Butcher: Your description of halal will make meat expensive.

Mr. Hamad: The interesting thing about cheap is that it may become expensive in the long run.

Butcher: So, what are you suggesting?

Mr. Hamad: There is a nexus between organic and halal. Though scholars and food experts ignore it.

Butcher: You have changed since you visited ECVOntario at the University of Guelph!

Mr. Hamad: This is the beginning ... I have stopped using atrazine and glyphosate on my farm. 

Butcher: All the best with your new journey...


Bamidele Adekunle @badekunl
July 12, 2019

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