There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a huge impact on the global economy. The major disruption to food supply chains is one that will have a significant impact on domestic policy, infrastructure investment, and trade patterns in both the short and long term.
Al Mussell, research lead with Agri-Food Economic Systems, says that in the middle of this pandemic, we are seeing some countries move to more protectionist measures – which makes sense. The bigger question, however, is what does demand for food and food ingredients look like on the other side of this? What’s more, where will that food come from?
When you get down to the number of countries capable of ramping up export capacity, he says, you end up with a pretty short list — Canada, Australia, some South American countries. Yes, there are plenty of other prominent players in export markets. Still, when you consider what they also import, regions such as the EU or countries such as the U.S. are not in the same position as Canada or Australia, for example.
The U.S., Mussell says, seems firmly committed to commodity-based agriculture, and when wrecks happen they’re going to mop up the mess with subsidies.
The key going forward, Mussell says, is for Canada to not just consider what it needs to do to improve infrastructure and expand processing, but also how it will raise the investment necessary to make it all happen. And that will mean taking a hard look at our foreign investment rules.
Listen for more perspective from Al Mussell, below: