Agriculture World

60% of Farmers Suffered Yield Loss during COVID-19 Lockdown

Garsha Sai Nitesh
Garsha Sai Nitesh

During the two-month-long lockdown implemented by the centre 60 per cent farmers who harvested their crops faced a lower yield when compared to last year and one in four stored their produce instead of selling it says a survey conducted by the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Public Health Foundation of India and Centre for Sustainable Agriculture. 

The survey aim is to evaluate the impact of the lockdown implemented to control the spread of COVID-19 on agricultural production and livelihood. 

A sample size of 1,500 farmers from 200 districts across 12 Indian states is taken. Farmers from states like Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh are part of it. 

About 56 per cent of farmers are worried about the lockdown impact on their preparation for the coming sowing season. Of these 50 per cent are concerned about the ability to afford inputs like seeds and fertilizers. While 38 per cent expressed their worry about labour shortages. 

Nearly 30 per cent of farmers unable to harvest their crops due to the complete lockdown beginning implemented all across the country said the survey.  

Farmers who are affected by the yield loss said the main reasons are lack of labour, storage, or transport option, While the weather is also cited as one of the reasons for the yield loss. 

Out of 63 per cent farmers who could harvest their crops, 22 per cent are forced to store due to the lockdown issues, 12 per cent farmers were still trying to sell their produce and 44 per cent did manage to sell. 

Coming to states Bihar, Haryana, MP, Rajasthan, and UP except for Punjab stored large quantities of the crop and still trying to sell it said the survey. 

In Bihar 83 per cent of the farmers were able to harvest their crops only 18 per cent sold it, however in Punjab 95 per cent harvest successfully of which 88 per cent sold it successfully. 

Landless farmers were 10times more at risk compared to land-owning farmers to skip a meal. The majority of farmers received food ration from the government which helps them escape the risk of an empty stomach. 

Wheat farmers have the option to store their produce or sell it in markets, while perishable food items faced heavy losses due to the restrictions between their field and market. 

The cost of harvest decreased this year as the migrant labours left back to their homes and most farmers involved their family members to take part in harvesting the crops.  

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