The State of food and agriculture 2021: making agrifood systems more resilient to shocks and stresses – World


The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of agrifood systems to shocks and stresses and has led to increased food insecurity and malnutrition around the world. Actions are needed to make agrifood systems more resilient, efficient, sustainable and inclusive.

The State of Food and Agriculture 2021 presents national indicators of the resilience of agrifood systems. The indicators measure the robustness of primary production and food availability, as well as physical and economic access to food. They can thus help assess the capacity of national agrifood systems to absorb shocks and stresses, a key aspect of resilience.

The report analyzes vulnerabilities in food supply chains and how rural households cope with risks and shocks. It discusses options for minimizing the trade-offs that building resilience can have with efficiency and inclusiveness. The aim is to provide guidance on policies aimed at improving the resilience of the food supply chain, supporting livelihoods in the agrifood system and, in the face of disruption, ensuring sustainable access to food for all. sufficient, safe and nutritious.


  1. To maintain their functionality and ensure food security, nutrition and the livelihoods of millions of people, agrifood systems must become more resilient in the face of increasing shocks and stresses from various origins, both biophysical and socio-economic.

  2. Since agrifood systems are complex – including primary production, food supply chains, national transport networks, and households – and involve many interrelated actors, a shock in any component can spread rapidly. in all systems.

  3. The fragility of agrifood systems can affect a large number of people: already 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet and an additional 1 billion would join their ranks if a shock reduced their income by a third. Food costs could rise for up to 845 million people if a disruption of critical transport links were to occur.

  4. Of the five distinct resilience capacities that agrifood systems must have – to prevent, anticipate, absorb, adapt and transform – absorptive capacity is essential to deal with unanticipated shocks and is complementary to managing the risk of shocks that can be anticipated.

  5. The key to strengthening the absorptive capacity of agrifood systems is the diversity of food sources (domestic production, imports or existing stocks), the diversity of actors in food supply chains, redundant and robust transport networks, and accessibility of healthy food for all households, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.

  6. Strategies for managing the risks of shocks such as droughts, floods and pests – including multi-hazard assessments, timely forecasting, early warning systems and early action plans – are essential to help all actors food systems to prevent and anticipate major system disruptions and to avoid human suffering and costly recovery interventions.

  7. Improving the resilience of food supply chains requires government support to develop small and medium agribusinesses, cooperatives, consortia and clusters, as well as social protection programs.

  8. The resilience capacities of low-income rural households, especially small producers whose livelihoods are increasingly vulnerable to climate shocks and depletion of natural resources, can be significantly enhanced through education, non-farm employment and cash transfers.

  9. Ensuring economic access to sufficient food for healthy eating at all times is a key dimension of the resilience of agrifood systems. Policies and investments that reduce poverty, create decent jobs and expand access to education and basic services, as well as social protection programs when needed, are essential elements of resilience.

  10. Building resilient agrifood systems should be a key policy objective and must ensure that all components of agrifood systems function well over time. This requires the integration of resilience into agrifood policies and greater coordination among all relevant sectors and levels of government institutions to ensure policy coherence.

About Cassondra Durden

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