Turkey’s long-running problem of agricultural shortages and food inflation could worsen under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the government has relied on imports to fill the gaps instead of encouraging domestic production.

Procuring food and other agricultural products could become increasingly hard for import-reliant countries as food security risks fueled by the pandemic are already forcing governments to restrict exports.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the world risks a looming food crisis “unless measures are taken fast to protect the most vulnerable, keep global food supply chains alive and mitigate the pandemic’s impacts across the food system.”

Amid disruptions in global production chains, countries are under pressure to seek “nativist” solutions and prioritize their own food security, with some banning the exportation of foods sold overseas before the pandemic and others scrambling to stockpile as much as they can or produce locally what they used to import. Lockdowns and other restrictions to stop the contagion have led to labor shortages in many places, aggravating the hardships of farmers and food industries. Shortages in inputs such as fertilizers, seeds and pesticides could present additional risks to global agricultural supplies and stoke food inflation.

Written by Mustafa Sönmez