India has been witnessing a rise in the number of deadly Coronavirus cases. Amidst the spread of the virus, the 21-day lockdown was announced by the central government. The lockdown has been done to break the chain of community spread of the virus.
The biggest burden is, however on the landless workers, the homeless people, daily wage workers, and the farmers. The reason lies behind their financially weak situation and a break in the cycle of their revenues.
The government has been trying hard to provide the basic facilities to stop and isolate people wherever they are but the steps are not satisfactory or up to the mark. Large numbers of people have started to migrate from urban to rural areas in search of both roof and food. This is increasing both, the danger of the spread of the virus through community transmission, and a lack of resources to assist the large scale migration.
The rural, and established, farmers have other worries to think about. Around 80% of the country depends directly or indirectly on the agriculture sector. The agriculture sector has already witnessed depression and less harvest in the past few years. The fields are filled with wavy crops, and continuous rain and hailstorm have destroyed the harvest in different regions, including eastern MP, several districts of UP, and Chhattisgarh.
With the current lockdown situation, concerned authorities and the district administration face a problem in surveying and analysing the impact. This problem will further delay the procedures, and compensation for the destroyed harvest seems to be a distant dream.
The lockdown also affected the accessibility of workers to cut the standing harvest, reduced flow of capital, the immovability of people, and made it difficult to harvest the crop. The problem is based on the supply side. The supply of harvest and agricultural produce has been affected by the lockdown. The affected supply will raise the demand with every passing day. The demand will fuel the inflation of consumable products including fruits, vegetables, and other food products. The global impact of the pandemic will also adversely affect the international demand for food and crops. These factors may soon lead to the origin of a farm crisis.
This is critical for both the government and the people themselves. The supply might be impacted and the rise in food prices can be seen, the fear of spread has made the farmers to rely on the government aid that it has been promising. The problem arises when the cycle of revenue gets affected by the break. Farmers gradually take formal and informal loans (mostly informal). The repayment of loans will be a problem after the chaos has been settled. The cycle of capital has been halted and the worst slap would be on farmers face.
The delay in preparation for the second harvest will be seen and will surely affect the quality of the next harvest or may even lead to a situation wherein most of the arable land would be left empty. The daily wage earners, if not affected by the virus, might die due to the lack of food and supplements which assisted their survival.
The adverse effect of Coronavirus on agriculture and the resulting farm crisis will surely make the scenario worse. The government should assist and aid the farmers in resuming the supply chain and continue fulfilling the rising demand. It should also facilitate medical checkups at the ground level to address their fear of coming under the grip of this deadly virus.
The government should also assure the farmers of warehousing facility, as the government purchase schemes and functions will be adversely affected by the lockdown. Also, farmers should get loans with lesser interest rates and the EMI moratorium during and after the Coronavirus pandemic to raise their financial conditions.