COVID-19 crisis has caused extreme hardships for the Indian agriculture sector, not only for the farmers in terms of the losses they suffered but also the consumers as they have not been getting adequate supplies. Adoption of digitial technologies rapidly by some of the stakeholders has helped in easing the situation in a few clusters of the nation but this benefited only a small set of farmers. The response during the crisis by some however demonstrated that immense benefits can be reaped by the agriculture sector and a new era can be ushered in through adoption of digital technologies.
The world has come to a standstill from the COVID-19 pandemic. Like every other sector, Indian agriculture also finds itself struggling with innumerable hardships. Though agriculture falls under the essentials segment and is exempted from the lockdown, agri-supply chain is still not functioning. Structural issues that have been ignored for long and hurting Indian farmers have suddenly become visible for all to see.
The COVID-19 crisis has left farmers grief-stricken due to the shutdown of mandis, lack of transportation and storage facilities, scarcity of contractual labour and restriction in movement. Most of the farmers are unable to sell their produce and resorting to measures such as dumping their produce and delaying harvest, thus leaving a third of India’s informal sector in the lurch.
Shreejit Borthakur, a consultant with Intellecap, speaks to Social Friendly to understand the prevailing issues in agriculture and the best way forward to create a Future of Agriculture that is resilient.