The advent of COVID, a curse or blessing for India's state of agriculture?

The COVID-19 pandemic had disrupted some activities in agriculture and supply chains

With the rapid spread of coronavirus in India, massive consequences to health and livelihoods are dreadful.


The state government had imposed a series of lockdowns to curb the virus transmission which led to challenging health and livelihoods issues.


The COVID-19 pandemic had disrupted some activities in agriculture and supply chains.


The initial reports have shown that the migrant laborers' unavailability had obstructed several harvesting activities, significantly in northwest India where wheat and pulses are being harvested.


There were also interruptions in supply chains because of transportation problems and other difficulties that emerged with the advent of the pandemic.


The declined rates for wheat, vegetables, and other crops, and still consumers were often seen paying more.


Several media survey reports have shown that the closure of hotels, restaurants, sweet shops, and tea shops during the state lockdowns has also the depressed milk sales.


Last year, during the first wave of pandemic there were speculations that chickens are the carriers of COVID that had hit the poultry farmers.


Apart from several speculations and difficulties with the virus, the agricultural sector is likely to have a beneficial impact on the economy.


President of Shetkari Sanghatana, Anil Ghanwat had said the coronavirus pandemic has shown farmers the way forward.


Agriculture should be strengthened to stop migration of laborers to cities and farmers should get profitable prices for their productions so that they can start their own agriculture businesses in villages.


As per Ghanwat, the pandemic has proved to be a blessing in the veil that opened the doors to economic freedom for farmers.


For instance, a farmer usually sells their produce to brokers at Rs 50 per kg. But during the crisis, as the chain of brokers broke down, farmers sold the same directly to consumers at Rs 150 per kg, which eventually helped them to raise Rs 100 extra per kg.


For the agriculture sector to make a positive contribution to GVA (Gross value added) this year, the spread of virus in rural areas needs to be kept under control by using all possible ways.


The three farm laws that were quickly enacted were put on halt by the Supreme Court of India in January 2021 and an expert committee was set up.


The expert committee has also submitted its report to the apex court on March 30, but the matter has not been listed for hearing and the report is yet to be released in public domain.


The Central government has also not shown any urgency to negotiate with farmers.


The farm laws and COVID crisis have impacted the agricultural sector undoubtedly. According to the experts, the government must take their call on bills as well as control the spread of virus in rural areas.


Additionally vaccination and testing should boost rapidly for Agricultural sector to make another positive contribution to the Indian economy.


Lastly, in my opinion, the covid crisis came as a blessing to Indian agricultural sector, as many migrants labourers are back to fields which will majorly help the sector to grow.

Nistha Jain

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