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Could Food Export Restrictions Worsen a Looming Food Crisis?

Several countries have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by introducing restrictions on food and agricultural exports, sparking concern that access to food for consumers in low-income, food-importing countries could be harmed.

This policy brief draws on analysis in the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI’s) COVID-19 Food Trade Policy Tracker to examine how food-importing countries could be affected by recent measures to restrict exports. It looks at three types of indicators to assess how vulnerable importing countries are to the imposition of export restrictions: 1) which importing countries are affected by these measures, 2) which countries already have high levels of undernourishment, and 3) which countries are dependent on imported calories. The brief also calls on countries to refrain from banning or restricting exports of food staples because of the impact these measures can have on hunger in importing countries.