The protectionist wave is gradually starting to gain momentum. And the first to “self-isolate” in the countries will be the agricultural market. After all, today it is a matter of food security.
Just two days ago, Romania banned the export of wheat, barley, oats, corn, rice, wheat flour, soybeans, vegetable oil and sugar. Turkey closes the export of lemons, Vietnam – of rice. The Ukrainian government has already banned the export of buckwheat.
In Italy, the situation on the agricultural market is not critical, but it has the strongest effect on the general economic situation. The decline in consumption is felt by many firms. As the Italian media write, every Italian farm feels the effects of an epidemic.
Several European countries have begun to request from Italian suppliers additional and more complete certificates for imported Italian goods. This is a small touch to the notorious European solidarity.
The second big problem is the lack of foreign seasonal workers who often came to spring field work. For example, from Romania. About a quarter of the products in Italy are produced by foreign workers.
Despite this, all large agricultural companies were not alien to social initiatives. Ferrero, the largest chocolate maker, Lavazza coffee maker and Nestle chain announced bonus programs to support workers.
The Bofrost frozen food company has allocated € 2 million to support its 2,400 employees. Findus Frozen Foods has provided € 1 million for medical research.
The government took the side of the Italian commodity producer, saying that it would do everything possible to preserve the Italian brands. For this, the information company #MangiaItaliano began. It tells on the quality and usefulness of Italian-made agricultural products.
In Ukraine the main production and commercial chains of the agricultural market are functioning stably and without interruption. If prices go up, it’s because of the policy of retail chains, and not through the fault of manufacturers.
On the contrary, large-scale agricultural production assumes additional responsibility in a difficult period, weighing on its own shoulders the issues of building operational headquarters in the regions to combat coronavirus, providing medical equipment, and helping doctors and nurses.
Of course, agricultural producers in each country expect from the state understandable tools to protect the sector, which became strategic during the crisis. Today, agricultural producers would appreciate a gesture of power in the direction of revising regulations that limit support for the domestic agricultural business.
It would be reasonable to involve the producers themselves in developing a government strategy to prevent the food crisis. An initiative by the Ukrainian government to launch an information campaign to stimulate the purchase of Ukrainian agricultural products would be useful.