The agricultural sector in India has come to halt with the 21-day national lockdown. Supply chains have broken down, labour is in short supply and there has been a surge in food prices, leading to a drop in availability. This comes at a time when farmers were gearing up to harvest the rabi crop. As a result, they are now facing issues over harvesting and supplying crops to the market.
What role does agriculture play as we think about the economic consequences of Covid-19? And what can India do to ensure that challenges we’ve experienced in the past 21 days do not continue, even if the lockdown does?
In the fourth episode of the Centre for Policy Research’s podcast on the coronavirus pandemic, Yamini Aiyar, President & Chief Executive at the Delhi-based think tank, speaks with Pravesh Sharma, former IAS officer and CEO of Kamatan Farms Pvt Ltd, and Mekhala Krishnamurthy, Senior Fellow at the think tank.
Sharma and Krishnamurthy talk about why food supply chains have broken down, what the lockdown means for the farmer, and what the Indian government should be doing to ensure both farmers and consumers are protected. They recommend a revival of government procurement and the mandi within the next few weeks so farmers can continue trading, while ensuring that all aspects of the supply chain remodel themselves to the new normal of social distancing.
This is the fourth in a series of episodes by the Centre for Policy Research on the unfolding coronavirus pandemic in India. You can follow the Centre’s work on Covid-19 on Twitter or visit www.cprindia.org. You can listen to all the episodes in the Coronavirus Conversation series here.