A public health emergency, such as the current epidemic, affects every element of human existence and the economy. The rapid spread of contagious diseases that prompted the economy to close has also had an impact on agrochemicals. Having said that, with the country’s gradual unlocking, the economy has begun to return to normal. However, the long-term forecast for the agrochemical business is questionable, as it is impossible to predict when the situation will improve with the advent of a certain treatment or vaccine.
The COVID-19 crisis has brought to light some of India’s long-standing agricultural issues. Despite significant progress toward greater access to institutional credit, smallholder farmers continue to rely heavily on informal lending sources. The government must intervene to ensure that farmers may obtain new finance in time for the Kharif season. The preservation of women’s roles in agriculture is another crucial issue that policymakers and the larger development community should consider.
A good rainfall equals a good uptake
After the huge locust attack and difficulty harvesting and marketing the rabi crop owing to lockdown, the regular monsoon forecast was a big boost for the farm industry. Early July reports that Kharif crop sowing is reportedly 88 percent greater than the previous year, with the timely beginning of monsoon providing better water availability aiding crop acreages. It will take time to see whether the rains are a boon to Kharif crops, while some analysts believe it will assist the local agriculture-inputs business to start a favorable period of expansion after three years of lukewarm growth, with more than 20% increase expected in the first quarter. Ample water will be available for the rabi crops as well, which will come at a time when we should be hopeful that the unlocking process has progressed.
Due to low imports, technicals are in short supply
With the spread of the coronavirus, China halted shipments of raw materials, which were critical for the products made here, resulting in a supply gap, which was filled in the later half of the Post-Covid period. India’s agrochemical industries import over half of the raw materials they require. However, the R&D and domestic manufacturing capabilities in the United States are insufficient to close this gap. India is a profitable manufacturer but not a producer under the existing production model.
According to data from Agriculture Science and Technology Indicators, India presently invests 0.30% of its agricultural GDP on research and development, which is less than half of what China spends. According to the Economic Survey 2017-18, India spends a substantially lower percentage of GDP on R&D than other countries. It is just necessary for the government to encourage R&D in order to increase domestic manufacturing. The government may help Indian agrochemical companies grow their production skills by providing tax breaks and free land.
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Agribusiness and supply chain management
COVID-19 is causing some agricultural and supply chain disruptions. Wheat, vegetables, and other crops have seen lower prices, but consumers are still paying more. According to accounts in the media, the lockdown has already slowed milk sales by closing hotels, restaurants, confectionery shops, and tea shops. Meanwhile, disinformation, particularly on social media, has harmed poultry farms by implying that chickens are carriers of COVID-19. To keep the agriculture sector and supply chains running smoothly, the following measures are required:
- As lockdown measures have increased, demand has risen for home delivery of groceries and E-commerce.
- The government should promote trade by avoiding export bans and import restrictions.
- Farmers and agricultural employees should be included in the government’s aid package as well as any social protection measures designed to solve the issue.
- Food and nutrition security Government warehouses are overflowing with rice and wheat. It is preferable to give universal distribution coverage in the next months in order to avoid exclusionary errors.
- As crucial services, nutrition programmes such as Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), mid-day meals, and Anganwadis (rural child care centers) should continue to distribute rations and meals to recipients at home. The addition of eggs can be beneficial to both children and women.
- Several state governments have started to roll out innovative programmes to help low-wage workers and the poor. The Kerala government, for example, sends meals to people’s homes in a variety of cuisines. top 5 agrochemical companies in india
Influence on agricultural yields
Fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables were significantly impacted by the pandemic and its following influence on supply networks. Moving agricultural produce from one section of the country to another was difficult because of the continuous lockdowns and restricted travel across the country. As a result of the perishable nature of the fruit, more began to spoil, forcing buyers to pay extra money. However, this disruption highlighted the long-term need for reliable, secure crop/fresh food storage facilities. It reminded us of the need for additional investment in the food processing sector, which has been a long-standing demand among farmers.PLANT GROWTH PROMOTERS
In terms of floriculture, the demand for flowers has increased as customers have become worried about anything that could be a potential transmission surface or object. The demand for previously popular flowers such as rose and marigold flowers has fallen dramatically since no-frills weddings and other festivals or functions have become the norm. Furthermore, due to movement constraints, flower transportation has decreased. On the other side, when the fear fades, individuals are starting to think about preserving flowers for longer periods of time or exporting them.
The lockdowns had a moderate impact on the dairy industry, resulting in a 30% drop in procurement prices. However, as individuals became increasingly concerned about protein intake, egg consumption climbed significantly. However, due to increased concern about animal product consumption, poultry meat costs have decreased, with chicken prices plummeting by almost 25%. Furthermore, the lockdown fell during the rabi harvesting season, causing cereal crops to suffer. However, once the lockdown was lifted, input mobility increased, which was helpful for the Rabi and Kharif seasons that followed.
Women in Agriculture
Despite the fact that women own only 12% of all agricultural land, agriculture employs over 73% of rural women workers. Men have diversified into the rural non-farm sector in response to declining work prospects in agriculture, and male out-migration has emerged as a prominent livelihood option. According to the World Bank, India has around 140 million internal migrants. With fewer non-farm sector jobs available and men returning to their villages, there will be more men available to work in agriculture. After the nationwide lockdown, an estimated 50 million interstate migratory labourers have returned to their towns. This could have an impact on women’s status as farmers, potentially reversing progress made in the previous decade. Their pay may fall much lower. FERTILEZERS
Men may become more involved in the marketing of their products as a result of their increased local presence, giving them more influence over the money. Networks of women’s self-help groups (SHGs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will have to play a bigger role in negotiating space for women. SHG federations and village groups might also play a bigger role in coordinating input deliveries and ensuring product aggregation and marketing. State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs) have also been leading the way in building farm-to-fork models for women farmers to market commodities. To help women retain their space, civil society organizations and governments should conduct appropriate capacity-building initiatives.
The contagious sickness COVID-19 has brought the entire world to a halt, both socially and economically. The number of people infected has surpassed two million and continues to rise. To combat the spread of sickness among the general population, many governments have implemented lockdowns. Losses have been reported in dairy, poultry, floriculture, seed production, and other associated businesses. Farmers are grappling with concerns such as labor shortages and transportation possibilities as the epidemic hits India just as the rabi crop is being harvested. The industry is unable to absorb the numerous losses caused by reduced harvesting, processing, transportation, or demand.
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