The question of food supplies and its chain is one that people appear to be asking around the globe as the pandemic spreads. Many countries, even top of the Anglosphere that seemed initially strikingly negligent of the situation, are under lockdown. With people prevented from coming to work, many local bus connections ceased. This might pose a difficulty in arriving to farming areas and greenhouses, usually remotely located in regards to their workers’ places of living. On top of that, some people might refuse to come to work, and some drivers might refuse to take the route.
There is a comprehensive news article on BBC about the concern revolving around the impact of the ongoing pandemic on supply chains. I recommend reading that piece of news.
“At the moment this system still seems to be working. Goods are still arriving from Italy for instance, even though the country is in a shutdown. But it would only take one country to start banning the export of food for the whole system to be at risk, as others retaliate to secure their own supplies.” – bbc.comhttps://www.bbc.com/news/business-52020648
Editors from the British Broadcasting Corporation appear to be confident that despite closure of European borders, food supply chain should remain intact. This is because the flow of goods remains permitted.
Forbes Insights presents a reserved approach, waging arguments for an against. However, they also permit a darker scenario:
“We can anticipate a run on frozen foods, specialty products, and a raid on the meat cases – all while food manufacturers will probably continue moving standard dry goods to the right place at the wrong time, while freezing fresh perishables for down the road sales.” – forbes.comhttps://www.forbes.com/sites/philkafarakis/2020/03/24/how-the-coronavirus-will-shape-the-food-supply-chain/#2841af203e1c
At this point, there is no certainty. While I received information from some of my friends in the United States that certain grocery chains are lacking food due to hoarders, I did not receive such news from Europe, where only sanitisers and toilet paper was hoarded. This might change at any time, though, as European growers tend to rely on migrant workforce, who now will be unwilling or unable to arrive.
““You can cushion a bad crop, but when you have 80% of your production ready to be picked and no one to do it, you feel powerless,” Picon said. “We don’t know how this is going to end.”” – bloomberg.comhttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-27/from-spain-to-germany-farmers-warn-of-fresh-food-shortages
This might stimulate further hoarding, but hoarding would last a person about two weeks to a month, and perishables cannot be hoarded. Essential food seems unreal to go out of shelves, though, such as wheat, water or rice, due to the long time they take to spoil, and lack of a natural disaster that would prevent harvests. What we might see is impact on two areas: fast perishables (strawberries, etc.) and bankruptcy of small enterprises, taken over by large ones.
Those are just loose thoughts of someone that is not an economist, based on press. We will see what will happen in the end.