The agriculture sector has been going through a disaster for the previous a number of years and there was a gentle decline in agricultural earnings. In such a scenario, the financial savings of households depending on agriculture have additionally decreased. Therefore, funding in agriculture sector has come down and the expansion charge of agriculture sector has additionally fallen. From the figures, the annual development charge of the agriculture sector was 4.9 p.c within the interval from 2009 to 2013, which has now come right down to 2.7 p.c. In such a scenario, the disaster of Kovid-19 has introduced a brand new problem for the agricultural sector, so if motion just isn’t taken on the proper time, the scenario might worsen.
Unemployment has additionally elevated on account of declining agricultural exports and industrial development. As a result, costs of meals and different agricultural merchandise have fallen. <! –
This has introduced agricultural earnings to a destructive stage. There is a big drop in demand for export basmati rice, cotton, buffalo meat and different merchandise and there are issues in provide.
In addition, the actual wage charge of agricultural employees has additionally decreased. About 34 p.c of the earnings of small and marginal farmers depends on agricultural wages. As such, the lockdown applied on account of Kovid-19 has adversely affected the agricultural sector. This has introduced the agricultural business to a standstill, including to the disaster within the agricultural sector. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), about 400 million inhabitants of the casual sector works in rural areas. Due to Corona, this large inhabitants has created an employment disaster and these folks can get caught within the vicious cycle of poverty. Therefore, the agricultural sector may very well be adversely affected in a giant approach. There are a number of vital causes for this. One is that because of the lengthy lockdown, harvesting of the Rabi crop can be an issue, as a result of there’s a labor disaster at the moment. The states of Haryana and Punjab have taken steps to purchase Rabi yields at minimal assist worth by taking well timed steps, different states haven’t proven the identical readiness. Not solely this, if there’s a delay in procurement of rabi yields, there may be additionally a chance that crop could also be ruined on account of rain or storm. The different vital factor is that there are experiences coming from Karnataka and elsewhere that crop scarcity just isn’t being finished on account of scarcity of labor and lack of transportation and farmers usually are not capable of convey the perishable crops to the market. Have been. Mandis are additionally closed at many locations. This is when the federal government has mentioned to maintain agricultural actions operating even in lockdown and to open mandis. The availability of chilly storage for perishable crops can be low.
The third main drawback is that meals safety has grow to be a significant problem for marginal farmers and landless laborers. They often store for cereals and important meals objects on a regular basis, however the provide has been affected because of the lockdown. In such a scenario, the food and drinks disaster has arisen in entrance of them. At current, Food Corporation of India has a inventory of about 56 million tonnes of meals grains. The authorities can use this inventory for distribution to the poor, which the Finance Minister has already introduced. But this step might be significant solely when it’s applied higher. The lockdown has additionally affected fisheries and poultry merchandise. This has elevated the disaster on the lives of small farmers. The fourth vital factor is that 1000’s of migrant laborers are all of the sudden trapped because of the lockdown. Economic exercise has come to a standstill on account of a sudden lockdown with no preparations. The borders of states and cities are sealed. In such a scenario, no matter is there may be caught. Migrant laborers cater to the wants of many marginal farmers and preserve the provision chain of the agricultural sector. This chain is totally damaged on account of their being trapped.
The fifth concern is that kharif sowing will even be delayed on account of delayed harvesting of rabi crops. This will even have an effect on manufacturing in lots of areas. Apart from this, lack of seeds and fertilizer will even trigger issues. Around 25 crore quintal seeds are wanted through the Kharif season which is used throughout March to May. But this yr the method has come to a standstill because of the lockdown. Even although the central and state governments have given directions to maintain agricultural actions separate from lockdown. But individuals are additionally going through harassment from the native police and administration. In many locations, the police have additionally closed outlets offering important merchandise for agriculture.
There is little question that lockdown is essential given the disaster of Kovid-19. Lockdown will reduce virus an infection. But it additionally must be famous that the provision chain shouldn’t be affected on this train, as it might result in a giant disaster.
In addition, Food Corporation of India, NAFED and the State Governments ought to make preparations to acquire wheat at minimal assist worth by way of higher coordination. The harm finished to different crops ought to be finished instantly by farmers in a clear method. This will assist the farmer to beat this disaster and can be capable of assure meals safety. With this banks and monetary establishments ought to be suggested to offer short-term interest-free loans to farmers for kharif crops, in order that they’ll purchase inputs for the crop. Also, the quantity obtained by the farmers underneath the PM Kisan Yojana also needs to be doubled. It also needs to embrace sharecroppers and landless laborers.
Finally, we now have to acknowledge that Kovid-19 is a critical illness. This has resulted in lack of lives on a big scale and has stalled financial and social progress. We have to combat collectively and take care that nobody goes hungry. In the approaching days, farmers and laborers are going to play an vital function in combating Kovid-19, in order that they have to be given encouragement and respect.
(The creator is the previous Chairman and Chief Economist of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices)