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The Future of Food Security in the Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic

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Pardee Center for International Futures
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Reports & Briefs

November 01, 2021

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Verhagen, W. et al., 2021. The Future of Food Security in the Wake of a Global Pandemic. Report. Research Technical Assistance Center: Washington, DC.

In barely two years, COVID-19 has set back progress in development efforts across the world and available data indicates there will likely be significant increases in extreme poverty, undernourishment, and child stunting in the coming years. But how will these effects persist, and what consequences will COVID-19 have for the future of food security?

Researchers at the Pardee Center projected the pandemic’s effects to the year 2040 on economic growth, rising inequality, rising government debt, and education losses from school closures in 2020-2025, to explore their long-term impacts on extreme poverty, undernourishment, and child stunting. 

Using the International Futures (IFs) model, the team compared three scenarios: 

  • A baseline COVID-19 Current Path scenario, which uses existing data and trends to project the effects of COVID-19 on economic growth, inequality, education loss, and rises in government debt.
  • A more pessimistic COVID-19 Unequal Paths scenario, which describes a world in which the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic worsen, and inequalities between countries rise, with additional negative effects primarily falling to low- and middle-income countries. 
  • A counterfactual no-COVID scenario, which projects long-term development trends in the world had the COVID-19 pandemic not occurred.
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