Ask Our Analysts – COVID-19 and the Food Supply Chain

Posted on June 2, 2020

Here’s a question from a farmer in central Saskatchewan. 

The meat supply chain has buckled due to COVID-19. That got me wondering about the grain supply chain. Is it at risk?

 Neil Townsend, our chief market analyst, breaks down complexities in our food supply chain during a pandemic.

 From the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a threat to the food supply chain.

Going from farm to table involves a lot of steps. Grain gets touched many times just to bring one product to the table. Grain gets delivered to the elevator, put on a train or truck to go to the mill, gets milled into flour, and is often sent along to a processor who makes it into a final product. All along the way transport is a necessity, be it road, rail, or ship.

Finally, the product must be placed on a shelf where consumers can choose to buy it.

So much can go wrong but, amazingly, typically whatever product you might want is ready and waiting for you at the grocery store.

COVID-19 raises risk levels that somewhere along the farm-to-fork journey there is a failure. So far, for grains, it has been minor but if the COVID-19 pandemic persists there remains a legitimate risk that the supply chain could experience disruption.

I talk about this more extensively with Jacob Shapiro, geopolitical analyst and founder of Perch Perspectives, on his new podcast, The Perch Pod. We have a candid conversation about how food supply chains are breaking around the world due to COVID-19 and what the future of these supply chains looks like in response to the pandemic. Click here to listen.

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