Covid-19 impact: State border curbs disrupt farm, food supply chain

The clampdown imposed by the Government in controlling the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 has thrown the agri-supply chain in a state of disarray. The agri-markets have commenced downing their shutters for investing routines and are anticipated to stay closed until the conclude of this month.

This has impacted the location investing of foodgrains and other agri-commodities in these markets, where arrivals have thinned down with farmers hesitant to stop by the market.

In Gujarat, most of the APMCs are closed until April two and the arrivals of seasonal commodities these kinds of as wheat, chana, coriander and mustard have arrive to a halt. “We ordinarily have a shutdown at APMCs from March 25 for our once-a-year account closing, but this 12 months we have closed early from March 21 due to the virus menace. Arrivals are suspended until April two and there will be no auctions for any commodity,” mentioned Atul Kamani, President of APMC Fee Brokers Affiliation, in Rajkot.

The Vashi APMC market, in the greater protection of traders and commission brokers, will remain shut until March 31. “We held a conference currently, wherein it was decided that the market will remain closed until March 31. This is simply because there is a menace of group transmission of the virus. We are keeping the veggies market open for a day on Tuesday, soon after that it will also remain closed,” mentioned Ashok Valunj, previous Director, Vashi APMC. Nevertheless, Valunj clarified that there are no limitations on the farmers to offer their crops immediately to the consumers.

Logistics hurdles

Fruits and veggies (F&V) have been exempted from the lockdown in numerous States. Nevertheless, the prevailing confusion and chaos in the logistics sector is witnessed impacting the movement of the generate, which, in turn, could shrink provides to the consuming centres, ensuing in a spike in prices in the times in advance.

“Though F&V is exempted, the floor fact is unique. Harvesting, packing and transporting has turn into a large challenge due to the clamp down on people today movement,” mentioned Pankaj Khandelwal of INI Farms.

“Even if the generate is harvested and delivered, there is uncertainty above the consignment reaching the intended place. We hear from transporters that motorists — under strain from their family members and due to the ailments on the floor these kinds of as non-availability of foods and regular checks and lengthy queues at State borders — have abandoned their vehicles. As a end result, we are telling farmers to delay their harvest as substantially as probable,” Khandelwal mentioned.

More, the Government requires to arrive out with a alternative to make sure a easy passage for F&V vehicles by speaking with people today on the floor about the exempted classification, he added. In Delhi, the Azadpur Mandi was open currently. “It will get the job done tomorrow also. But I can not say for how lengthy. Like most people today, traders and labourers, also, are quite apprehensive as the menace of Covid-19 infection is quite serious,” mentioned Rajinder Sharma, a trader mentioned.

“If Delhi govt wishes it to be operating, it really should make provisions for sanitising the place and even declare if everything comes about to any individual it will compensate the person’s family. This sort of matters can instil some self confidence as staff are very scared,” Sharma mentioned.

In Bengaluru, the markets will remain open on Tuesday on account of the Ugadi pageant and will be shut from Wednesday until the month conclude. “Retailers and grocers have stocked sufficient to consider treatment of provides for the future few of weeks,” mentioned RC Lahoti of Foodgrains Traders Affiliation.

(With inputs from T V Jayan in

New Delhi)