Global food security concerns are mounting, with some nations contemplating restricting the flow of staples, as around a fifth of the world's population goes under lockdown.
But protectionism could cause devastating ripple effects.
The heads of the World Trade Organization and U.N.
Food agencies delivered a stark warning: Food supply chains must be protected from new trade measures.
In a joint statement, they said: "Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market." Vietnam, for example, is the third largest rice exporter.
It’s already restricted sales - amid concerns over domestic availability.
India, the top global rice exporter, has just entered a three-week lockdown - bringing several logistics channels to a halt.
Such measures are particularly damaging to food-deficit countries, like the United Arab Emirates which imports 80-90% of its food.
Nations such as Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia are boosting imports as they build strategic stocks.
Aid agencies' food procurement, too, could be hampered - cutting off supplies for those in desperate need.