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The Impact of COVID-19 on Horticulture: Critical Issues and Opportunities Derived from an Unexpected Occurrence

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many victims worldwide and has generated a serious economic crisis. Substantial changes have occurred in the food and ornamental production chains. The aim of the present review has been to summarize some of the main effects that the pandemic is having on horticulture and on the new habits of people. Infections and quarantine measures have prevented the regular flow of certain goods and of connected services. Cases of shortages and/or surpluses, a lack of the availability of labor, and a reduction in demand for some food products and flowers have occurred. New food production approaches have emerged and a reconnection between farmers and consumers has been spreading, thereby facilitating product distribution. Moreover, during the forced isolation, people have had to face periods of stress. The benefits that can be derived from leisure activities related to flowers and ornamental plants, and from access to nature and urban green spaces are increasingly being recognized as relevant. The seriousness of the pandemic will inevitably lead to lasting changes. Therefore, the vulnerability of the pre-COVID-19 distribution chains should be considered and a new food production chain should be drawn up, to increase the resilience of such systems.

Source: Horticulturae 2021, 7, 124.

Authors: Roberta Bulgari, Alice Petrini, Giacomo Cocetta, Carlo Nicoletto, Andrea Ertani, Paolo Sambo, Antonio Ferrante, and Silvana Nicola.