How lockdown has impacted Indian farmers, their yields 

#GS3 #Agriculture #Covid19 

Preliminary findings of a survey of more than 1,000 agricultural households across 12 Indian states show that 60% of those who did harvest reported a yield loss, and 1/10th of them could not harvest their crop in the past month.  

  • More than half (56%) of the farmers said that the lockdown has impacted their ability to prepare for the upcoming sowing season.  
  • The survey has found a “very strong association between food insecurity & farm size, with landless farmers 10 times more likely to skip a meal in the past month compared to large farmers”.  
  • Half of them reported that they were “concerned about being able to afford inputs, particularly seeds and fertilizer,” and more than one-third (38%) were concerned about labour shortages.  
  • About one-fourth said they were “storing their crops instead of selling them due to the lockdown”.  
  • The study has found small/marginal farmers were significantly less likely to be able to sell their crops as compared to large farmers. 

Key findings 

  • 10% of farmers could not harvest their crop in the past month and 60% of those who did harvest reported a yield loss.  
  • Many reported that this was because of lockdown-related issues such as low market price or inability to access their land due to travel restrictions.  
  • Several farmers also reported severe weather and water scarcity/lack of irrigation, which are persistent challenges in the agricultural sector and will need to be addressed as the slower-burning climate crisis continues in the midst of the pandemic. 
  • 1 in 4 farmers reported storing their crops instead of selling them due to the lockdown and 12% of farmers were still trying to sell their crops.  
  • Small/marginal farmers were significantly less likely to be able to sell their crops as compared to large farmers. 
  • 56% of farmers reported that the lockdown has impacted their ability to prepare for the upcoming sowing season.  
  • In particular, 50% of these said that they were concerned about being able to afford inputs, particularly seeds and fertiliser, and 38% were concerned about labour shortages. 
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