COVID-19 IMPACT ON FARMERS IN ASIA

COVID-19 IMPACT ON FARMERS IN ASIA

Islamabad June 1, 2020,
National Productivity Organization (NPO) is working under Ministry of Industries & Production, Government of Pakistan as Liaison Office of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), Japan.
Consumer Demand Aspect and Purchase Behavior. COVID – 19 crises are rapidly altering how people can earn a living and access food. The whole value chain and supply chain has been disrupted due to shut down of the restaurant industry. If you look at the ground the price of rice as the governments are not allowing the export of rice. Traders expect rice export prices to remain high as Vietnam limited rice exports to around 400,000 metric tons for April 2020. The Vietnam government will review the rice export restriction again on April 25th to determine the allowed volume for May 2020. On the other hand, Thai rice exporters are reportedly facing labor shortage in their export facilities, particularly migrant workers from neighboring countries that are enforcing the lockdown during the COVID 19 outbreak.
Food Supply Chain as if the lock down remains on and off by different governments, this will increase turmoil and therefore, we need to insure that the supply chain of different items remains intact. If due to lock down the farmers cannot have allowed to work, the prices will drastically increase. Vegetable supplies sent to Singapore every day via the causeway have decreased by 30 % due to movement control order, which as a result has broken supply chain. COVID-19 lock down is having a devastating effect on livelihoods. The supply chain woes force Cameron to dump greens, Lazade (E-Commerce) steps in and connect them to farmers. If farmers are producing less food, items the prices will drastically increase for the consumer. Due to this rush of lock down, the borders and limit interaction during this challenging time is so critical that the measures to address one crisis do not unintentionally create a new crisis.
Distribution of Food the concentration and distribution of food insecurity by severity differs greatly across the regions of the world. Worldwide around 704 million people are facing severe food insecurity and therefore could ultimately a new crisis would arise as food is actually not a luxury but it is a necessity. Therefore, farmers will continue providing quality food and maintaining safety at top priority. Urgent increase in food availability from smallholder farms is necessary while ensuring and enhancing safety. Productivity is very important to reduce post-harvest crop losses, improve food stocks along value chain and addressing basic energy needs of smallholder farms and rural households.
Smallholder farms can play a vital role as in Asia 80 % are small farmers with the age of 60 which could benefit the availability of food if the governments provide them safe transport and other required items like post and pre harvest essential items like seed etc. Thus by providing a good supply chain the problem can be irradiated. With an immediate support as identified “Essential Critical Service” need to ensure from port authorities, to provincial governments enforcement officer, permit issuing authorities etc. An aligned support to farmers could enable them to produce and to support national agriculture economy and to ensure the country population is assured safe, affordable and nutritional food.
Government largely exempting food and agriculture sector are adopting and driving food production, but disconnect between policy decisions and on the ground realities persist. The fragile nature of food security in Asia is now clear opportunity how to drive home necessity of making smallholders as productive and protective and thus could turning the crises into opportunity.
Recommendations
The regional stakeholder’s COVID 19 to do list is to ensure demand from markets and supply chain reaches farmers so that they can meet the needs in a timely manner, may include the following:
● By exempting agriculture as an essential service, providing necessary equipment and training can secure the safety of the farming community.
● Adapting regulations and policies to deliver timely agriculture inputs, raw materials and technologies to farmers.
● Encouraging innovation development through agile and flexible regulatory approach.
● Fast tract registration introduction of agricultural innovative solutions.
● Cross border sharing of science based, predictable regulations to promote digital agriculture applications, utility of drones, breeding innovation etc.

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