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As most of you regular readers of this blog may have realised, it’s not one that tends to engage in hyperbole. So, in honour of that, here’s the understatement of the year: The coronavirus crisis is having a negative impact on many sectors of the economy.
Via Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast I’ve spoken with some of those who are feeling the pandemic pinch more than others. Or better said, the virus’ threat — nay the government measures introduced to contain its spread — to take an irrecoverable pound of flesh from their livelihood.
Yet, as in most crises, opportunity knocks for others.
The online gaming sector, for one, is apparently experiencing strong growth. The video communications company Zoom is another, as well as, we can assume, delivery service operators.
Supermarkets are doing just fine, too. We have to eat, after all — unless you’re observing Ramadan right now.
Linked to that — no, not Ramadan, I mean supermarkets and staple foods —, here in Bogotá, the fruit and veg sector seems to be, well, in bloom.
Over the last few weeks, previously vacant premises, together with businesses that had been engaged in other, non-essential operations, have gone “green”.
Quite literally, there’s been a mushrooming of fruit and veg shops.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a host of quick-thinking, wily folk getting involved in the sector (although, as mentioned, there are those who have switched trade to meet demand). It’s probably more a case of existing stores expanding into new spaces. With social distancing and restrictions on customer capacity, those already established elsewhere are most likely behind these new “plantations”.
‘You generally get a lot more bang for your buck with such wholesome goodies compared to ready-to-eat alternatives.’
Whatever the case as to their roots, it is somewhat refreshing that there appears to be a greater demand for fresh produce during these uncertain times.
I wrote previously about what I saw as worrying aspects of the Colombian diet amongst those living more sedentary lifestyles compared to previous generations. As the coronavirus quarantine has resulted in money being in even shorter supply than normal for the hard-pressed masses here, it seems a good number are rediscovering the virtues of unprocessed fruit and veg.
This and the fact that, pound for pound, you generally get a lot more bang for your buck with such wholesome goodies compared to ready-to-eat, bought-in alternatives.
How these are prepared at home, well that’s another matter. The devil is in the detail in that regard. What’s more, there’s always the risk here that they’re just buying a variety of starchy tubers. Perish the thought that a typical plate might come with a few greens or a decent salad on it.
Nonetheless, as some find comfort in fast food and the like in these difficult times, it’s nice to see the humble fruit and veg store not only remain important but seemingly grow in popularity.
A, um, turnip for the books (or smartphone, rather), eh?
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast here.