COVID-19 effects: Farmers and the food supply chain

COVID-19 effects: Farmers and the food supply chain

Farmers and the food industry are the key players in every country's economy. Their efforts and performance decide the positions of global agricultural exports and imports, and relationships among different countries. They are the backbone of any economy.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Farmers and the food industry are the key players in the economy of all countries worldwide. Their efforts and performance decide the positions of global agricultural exports and imports and the relationships among different countries. They are the backbone of any economy.

With so much to deliver, these sectors are the most affected during the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has exposed the weaknesses and limitations of the food supply system.

Worldwide, the hospitality sector, the biggest buyer of food products, has seen a new low. Due to the pandemic, social life and luxury have come to a standstill.

There is a list of reasons for this, no public gathering, cafeterias are closed, the tourism industry has hit the rock bottom. Besides, many small restaurants and hotels that are expected to never re-open. 

Due to the low supply, farmers have experienced challenges in livestock and animal feed. Many fresh products have been devastated due to less demand. The food trade has been disturbed globally.

Let's check some of the major drawbacks of the novel coronavirus on farmers!

  • Food mismanagement due to decreased demand:

As restaurants and food chains were closed, milk, which was required on a daily basis, and other dairy products were largely dumped by the farmers. In agriculture, people solely depend on farmers for food, and during the crisis, farmers were uncertain about growing food and the quantity. The sudden lowered demand created a mess in the 

whole food industry.

  • Low labour and increase in wage price:

Due to Corona, a limited labour workforce has been seen in agricultural fields and farms. Many workers have fallen sick and others are frightened to work in close contact with other labourers. Hence, most of them are following social distancing, and farm owners are bound to allow only limited staff at the workplace. In addition, many have resigned or left jobs due to the COVID-19 agitation.

Due to the labour scarcity, the overheads have been gradually increasing to finish the fieldwork. Also, there is a possibility of a price hike in crops handled by human labour (such as strawberry and other fruits). 

  • Sluggish Supply chains and unavailability of products:

During the pandemic, logistics and transportation were disrupted which made the food supply companies very inactive. Thus, less-in-demand but important products had faced a shortage of supply. For instance, animal pharmaceutical products, fertilizers, feed, and other important farm products were not easily available. 

Farmers had to take care of their animals' lives during this tough period. They are still tackling many challenges. In the middle of all these tragedies, small scale farmers still receive some benefits. They got an opportunity to directly deal with the local consumers instead of selling their food items to the retailers at a low cost.

Everyone is expecting a quick recovery for the farmers and the food industry. Though the pandemic is not yet over, various Govt. initiatives and WTO’s efforts have kindled a spark of hope in the heart of traders and businessmen.

 Like the entire world, farmers are also entering into a new era—post-COVID, and virtual-dominated world. 

Respecting Darwin's evolution theory, “Survival of the fittest”, this is the time for farmers, traders, and nations to take the virtual route and embrace online and cloud-based tools, platforms, and channels to safeguard their future. Currently, the priority is to supply enough healthy food to the needy population.