Expert Panel 2

COVID-19: Lessons for resilience building along agricultural value chains

Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)

Time: Monday, 18. January 2021, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (CET), subsequent deep dive 4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Languages: English, German

The expert panel ‘COVID-19: Lessons for resilience building along agricultural value chains’ highlighted different perspectives of the impact of COVID-19, ranging from the global and European level to local impacts. To this end, the discussion focussed on potential paths for managing future pandemics and improving food security in crisis situations.

Although the global food system had proved to be relatively resilient compared to other industries, trade restrictions and border closures, limited labour mobility and falling consumption as a result of shutdowns, for example in the catering sector, led to price increases and bottlenecks in local food security. The impacts must also be considered in a differentiated manner depending on the target dimension of resilience – growth, trade, hunger reduction – and taking into account the specific region, commodity and even gender.

At the same time, global and international cooperation and coordination is vital for crisis management. In this context, the lessons learned from previous crisis situations, such as the Ebola epidemic and the 2008-2009 price crisis and existing tools of different EU policy areas can be helpful. These should, however, be used more consistently in order to avoid conflicting effects.


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Katharina Löhr is Deputy Head of the working group “Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries” (SusLand) at the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) and also works as lecturer at Humboldt -Universität zu Berlin. She holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences (HU Berlin) and an MSc in Peace and Development Studies (SOAS, UK). One of her current projects studies the impacts of COVID-19 on food security and agricultural practices of smallholders in Iran, Brazil and Tanzania. Her research focuses on land-use management, social cohesion, and peacebuilding as well as questions of adoption and co-design of innovations.

Stefan Sieber is an Associate Professor (PD, Privatdozent) at Humboldt University zu Berlin and concurrently he coordinates the department SusLAND “Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries” at the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF). His domains are food security and nutrition, climate change and bioenergy. He focuses on inter- and transdisciplinary research methods such as co-design of innovation, policy and governance analysis. Beyond, he applied sector modelling approaches and further developed impact assessment methods in Europe, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. He (co-)coordinated 37 international research projects, authored/co-authored 146 peer-reviewed publications as well as more than 100 conference contributions.

Panel guests

Boubaker Ben-Belhassen is Director of the Markets and Trade Division of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). He holds a Ph.D. and a M.Sc in agricultural economics and an M.A. in economics, from the University of Missouri-Columbia. His areas of specialization include commodity markets, price and policy analysis, projections and food security issues. He is also the Secretary of FAO’s Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP). The Division he leads is responsible for the preparation of a number of FAO high profile publications, including Food Outlook, Crop Prospects and Food Situation, the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook and The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO).

Claudia Ringler is Deputy Division Director at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). A thought leader on water for food, she manages IFPRI’s Natural Resource Theme, co-leads the Institute’s water research program and is a flagship co-lead of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Her research focuses on global water and food security, gender-water and gender-climate change linkages and the synergies of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Claudia has a PhD in agricultural economics from University of Bonn and an MA in International Development Economics from Yale University.

Dr Bettina Rudloff works as agricultural engineer and trade economist at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin – a think tank conducting research and advising the German Bundestag, Federal Government and European actors. Previously she trained national and international officials at the European Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht, The Netherlands.  Her focus issues are the European agricultural policy, trade and investments and their interlinkages with food security and development. She is member of the advisory board of the special initiative “One World, no Hunger” at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

David Pannell is Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Western Australia; Director, Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy; ARC Federation Fellow (2007-12); Distinguished Fellow and past president of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society; Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia; and a Director of Natural Decisions Pty Ltd. His research includes the economics of land and water conservation; environmental policy; farmer adoption of conservation practices; risk; and economics of farming systems. He is author of 200 journal articles and book chapters, with awards for research in the USA, Australia, Canada and the UK, including the 2009 Eureka Prize for Interdisciplinary Research.


Agri-food markets and trade policy in the time of COVID-19 – FAO

Challenges for a coherent approach to food system resilience within the EU – Bettina Rudloff

Sustainable Supply Chains in the Agri-cultural Sector: Adding Value Instead of Just Exporting Raw Materials – Bettina Rudloff and Christine Wieck

Snow, V., Rodriguez, D., Dynes, R., Kaye-Blake, W., Mallawaarachchi, T., Zydenbos, S., Cong, L., ObadovicI, I., Agnew, R., Amery, N., Bell, L., Benson, C., Clinton, P., Dreccer, F., Dunningham, A., Gleeson, M., Harrison, M., Hayward, A., Holzworth, D., Johnstone, P., Meinke, H., Mitter, N., Mugera, A., Pannell, D., Prada e Silva, L., Roura, E., Siddharth, P., Kadambot, S., and Stevens, D. (2021). Resilience achieved via multiple compensating subsystems: the immediate impacts of COVID-19 control measures on the agri-food systems of Australia and New Zealand, Agricultural Systems 187, 103025.

Pannell, D.J. and Adamowicz, W.L. (2020). What Can Environmental Economists Learn from the COVID-19 Experience? Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy


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