Agricultural Supply Chains during the COVID-19 Lockdown -Vikas Rawal and Ankur Verma
-Society for Social and Economic Research
The sudden announcement of a national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in a severe disruption of food supply chains. The lockdown was announced without any preparation, and nothing was mentioned about excluding agricultural production and marketing operations from the purview of the lockdown when the Prime Minister first announced these restrictions. Once the lockdown was announced, governments scrambled to keep the supply chains functioning. On March 27, the third day of the lockdown, government announced that the agricultural marketing operations were exempted from lockdown restrictions.
This study presents quantitative evidence from 1331 mandis to show that, over the first three weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown, a large number of agricultural markets were not operational, and in those markets that were operational, arrivals of key agricultural commodities fell very sharply. In comparison with the same period last year, only 6 per cent of the wheat was sold during the 21 days of the first phase of the lockdown. The situation was similar in case of other major crops covered in the study. A disruption of 21 days in being able to sell their crops would have resulted in massive losses to farmers, in particular, to producers of perishable crops.
Society for Social and Economic Research, April, 2020