The impact of COVID-19 on small-holder farmers in India and the way forward
In India more than 80% of the agriculture sector comprises of small and marginal farmers (Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, 2015). Agriculture and its allied sectors are the source of livelihood of around 54.6% of the population (Economic Survey 2019-20) and its contribution was around 16.5% of the GDP. Furthermore, small-holder farmers contribute to both diversification and food security significantly in terms of production of high value crops (Dev, 2014).
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted maximum activities in agriculture and supply chains. The gaps in communications and co-ordinations between the Central and State governments towards the agriculture sector has been evident in terms of release of notifications and circulars to manage agricultural activities during the lockdown. Early reports suggested that the non-availability of labour interrupted harvesting activities. Also, there are disruptions in supply chains because of nation-wide lockdowns, and prices have declined for maximum agri-products yet consumers are paying more.
This webinar explores the impact of the pandemic on small-holder farmers in India and ways to ensure an uninterrupted supply-chain distribution and access to credit. Panellists discuss how small-holder farmers could respond to this crisis and how government measures affect millions of farm households across the country. Panellists present a way forward for policymakers and decision-makers on improving outreach and delivery of these schemes.