60% of farmers faced losses, finds survey
Most farmers managed to harvest their crops despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but 60% of them still faced losses, mostly related to the lockdown, according to a new survey in 12 States.
- A majority of farmers also say the lockdown has hurt their preparations for the upcoming sowing season either because they cannot afford inputs such as seeds and fertilizer or because of labour shortages.
- The situation is worse for wage workers, with four out of five seeing their incomes fall over the last month. On average, wages were 76% lower compared to the same time last year.
- The survey found that 26% of respondents had harvested a crop in the past month, while 26% said this was not a harvesting season for them.
- Only 10% were unable to harvest their rabi or winter season crop, due to lockdown-related issues such as low market prices, difficulty in market access, government curbs and a shortage of labour and machinery.
- The situation becomes more complicated when looking at different crops and different States.
- Wheat is the biggest rabi crop and harvesting rates were especially high in northern States like Punjab (95%) and Haryana (81%) which also have high rates of mechanisation.
- However, while almost 90% of the wheat harvested in Punjab has already been sold, that figure falls to just above 60% for Haryana.