Food shortage in time of COVID

The food shortage we experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the vulnerabilities of our food system. In Hong Kong, we are overly dependent on imports and have little buffer in our supply chain. As a city we only have 15 days of rice reserve (link in Chinese) compared to 3 months in Singapore.

This interview reminded me of the talk I gave at Microwave last year where I looked at the future of food through the lens of sci-fi, looking back, the Apocalyptic Feast doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore. How do we prepare for a crisis? What do we eat when there is no food on the shelves? The panic buying that we observed during the beginning of COVID was an indication of the limited choices we have – shops and supermarkets are the only food source for most urbanites.

Our food system is made up of a global infrastructure of supply chains, even the simplest meal is most likely to use ingredients from all corners of the world. What this crisis has shown us is that we need to know the stressors in our food system, and we need to look for alternatives. This is one of the reason why local agriculture cannot be phased out, food security has to be part of the city’s agenda.

RTHK Radio 3 Backchat – Food shortage in time of COVID

Hugh Chiverton and Jim Gould

RTHK Radio 3 studio

HK's first public digital food rescue platform