COVID-19: Bracing for agrarian crisis and food insecurity -Manjari Balu

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published Published on Jun 12, 2020   modified Modified on Jun 16, 2020

-Down to Earth

Distress among marginal farmers and unavailability of food to migrant labourers has been largely ignored in Union government’s economic stimulus  

Agriculture and allied activities are considered ‘essential’ and officially face no restriction to harvest and supply to the market, even in the middle of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. But an agrarian crisis stemming from systemic failures needs to be considered for immediate policy response.

The current distress among marginal farmers and unavailability of food to migrant labourers has been largely ignored in the Rs 20 lakh-crore economic stimulus announced by the Union finance minister. Substantial funding for strengthening logistics and deregulation of Essential Commodities Act, 1955, is an ambitious plan without addressing the immediate crisis.

The relief package lacked an innovative, decentralised approach to solve the looming hunger crisis. Although India holds a buffer stock of wheat and rice thrice the required norm, palpable effects of food insecurity are observed among the weaker section of the society. India’s food supply chain (FSC) will undoubtedly be put through a stress test.

During this, the state has two primary challenges in the agriculture sector — to ensure food security across the country and minimum post-harvest loss with new social distancing and safety rules.

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Down to Earth, 12 June, 2020, https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/economy/covid-19-bracing-for-agrarian-crisis-and-food-insecurity-71729?utm_source=Mailer&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Down%20To%20Earth-3290


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