Breakdown of Agricultural Supply Chains during the COVID-19 Lockdown -Vikas Rawal and Ankur Verma

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published Published on Apr 27, 2020   modified Modified on Apr 27, 2020

The sudden imposition of a national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 has impacted the agricultural sector in many different ways. Of these, the disruption in the functioning of the agricultural markets has been one of the most significant.

The lockdown was announced with little planning. Despite the fact that the rabi crops were being harvested or were about to be harvested in many parts of the country, the central government made no advance preparations to ensure that agricultural supply chains continued to function. It was only on March 27th, three days after the national lockdown and 5 days after the first round of restrictions (starting with janta curfew) that the government announced exemption of agricultural mandis from the restrictions of the lockdown.

However, despite the exemptions from the lockdown restrictions, absence of complementary measures to ensure the availability of labour, facilitate safe transportation of produce from villages to the mandis and taking measures to ensure safety of those involved in transportation and marketing continued to thwart normalisation of functioning of the mandis during the first phase of the COVID-19 lockdown.

This article, based on a recent study we conducted, presents quantitative evidence from 1331 mandis across the country to show that a large number of agricultural markets remained non-operational during the first phase of the lockdown, and in those markets that were operational, arrivals of key agricultural commodities fell very sharply.

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Please click here to access the monograph by Vikas Rawal and Ankur Verma. Please click here to access the updated version of the monograph., 27 April, 2020,

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