The coronavirus lockdown will have an adverse effect on the agriculture sector in India. The nationwide lockdown has entrenched the economic system. The sector is facing alot of trouble with labourers and movement of goods. Even as agriculture produce is exempted from lockdown directives being an essential commodity, policemen are creating alot of problems for the sector.
Double Hit Due to Lockdown
Indian agriculture sector, which suffered recently due to uneven monsoon, will face another hit due to disruptions from the coronavirus. As Rabi harvest season approaches, farmers worry about their standing crops. Farmers growing wheat, mustard and pulses already complained about their crops damage due to untimely and heavy rainfall recently. This led to farmers fixing their crops but amid Coronavirus lockdown most of the labourers available fled to their homes.
Labourers Fleeing to their Homes
As the restriction on movement of goods continues amid the lockdown, the farmers are likely to feel the pinch in their income. The government has also received reports on potatoes lying harvested on fields due to a shortage of labour. Pradip Kumar Majumdar, chief advisor on agricultural marketing to West Bengal CM, stated that most of the laborers hailing from Bihar and Jharkhand have returned to their hometown due to the fear of coronavirus.
Moreover, farmers fear the sowing of summer season crop as none of the shops selling seeds, fertilizers and other vital inputs. Besides, several farm machines like combine and harvesters lie stranded on highways as there is no one to operate them.
Lockdown Hampers Movement of Goods
Coronavirus lockdown has impacted the supply chain of agricultural commodities. By taking a toll on the loading and unloading of agricultural produce. Also, the lockdown has hampered the movement of trucks carrying essential commodities. Several cold storage and warehouse owners complained regarding the dearth of laborers. Unwillingness to work fearing police beating, many labourers are staying home or leaving for their hometown.
Transparent Guidelines at local levels
Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at CARE Ratings stated that the breakdown in the distribution channel is more evident than in production. Hence, the government must pass transparent guidelines on local administration levels. Also, the lockdown causes the laborers going back to villages can cause a sudden rise in rural unemployment levels. Further, the poultry, fisheries and buffalo meat sectors are facing challenges. Due to spreading rumors about COVID-19 and meat consumption.
In all, the COVID-19 caused clampdown has caused disruption and will eventually lead to a dip in farmers income.