COVID-19 crisis interlinkage with past pandemics and their effects on food security

An interdisciplinary research group CZU COVID-19 Response Team, which was led by our Group leader – Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hynek Roubík just published their work in Globalization and Health (one of the most prestigious journals, which is pioneering and transdisciplinary journal that situates public health and wellbeing within the dynamic forces of global development).


The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences on various aspects of human life, and food security is no exception. Throughout history, pandemics have left a profound impact on global food systems, affecting the well-being of communities and posing threats to food security. This article explores the interlinkage between the current COVID-19 crisis and past pandemics, analysing their effects on food security and offering insights into strategies for building resilient food systems.

Pandemics and Food Security

Pandemics have historically been linked to fluctuations in food security. In the pre-20th century, hunger and illnesses often resulted from climatic changes, leading to significant disruptions in food production and distribution. During the 19th century, famines were exacerbated by lower food quality, causing widespread suffering. The catastrophes in human history elicited diverse reactions, ranging from defense mechanisms to introspection on food management practices.

COVID-19 and Food Systems

The COVID-19 crisis has presented unique challenges to global food systems. Disruptions in the flow of farm laborers and inefficiencies in farm operations have contributed to post-harvest food losses. Moreover, changes in social dynamics have led to modifications in diets among different social groups. These developments call for proactive and adaptive policies, programs, and institutional actions to enhance the resilience of food systems.

Towards Resilient Food Systems

Building resilient food systems requires a holistic approach, encompassing measures before, during, and after pandemics. Proactive planning and preparedness can help ensure access to food resources during emergencies. Effective management of the flow of goods and services becomes even more crucial during crises. Additionally, embracing alternative food resources can mitigate food shortages and ensure self-sufficiency.


To safeguard food security during pandemics, governments and institutions must prioritize the systemic development of global food systems. Strengthening resilience should involve collaborative efforts to address food supply chain disruptions and improve distribution networks. Integrating climate-resilient practices and promoting sustainable agriculture can contribute to long-term food security.


The COVID-19 crisis has reminded us of the significant impact pandemics can have on food security. By drawing lessons from historical outbreaks and embracing proactive strategies, we can develop resilient food systems that withstand the challenges posed by pandemics. Through collective action and innovative policies, we can ensure food access and self-sufficiency, fostering a more secure and sustainable future for all. 

The article is accessible here in the journal Globalization and Health

Acknowledgment: The authors wish to thank the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague for creating a space for interdisciplinary research group CZU COVID-19 Response Team, which created this outcome.

Research group:

An interdisciplinary research group CZU COVID-19 Response Team, which was led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hynek Roubík was consisted from authors all across various disciplines (and faculties) from Czech University of Life Sciences Prague. Specifically: Michal Lošťák, Chama Theodore Ketuama, Jana Soukupová, Petr Procházka, Adam Hruška, Josef Hakl, Lukáš Pacek, Petr Karlík, Lucie Kocmánková Menšíková, Vladimíra Jurasová, Charles Amarachi Ogbu and Michal Hejcman.


Roubík, H., Lošťák, M., Ketuama, C.T., Soukupová, J., Procházka, P., Hruška, A., Hakl, J., Pacek, L., Karlík, P., Kocmánková Menšíková L., Jurasová, V., Amarachi Ogbu, Ch., and Hejcman, M. COVID-19 crisis interlinkage with past pandemics and their effects on food security. Global Health 19, 52 (2023). DOI

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