Chandigarh, March 28: The coronavirus lockdown imposed by the Centre has briefly derailed the farm-to-fork supply chain process. With key logistical support missing and agricultural mandis shut, the country stares at a double whammy - shortage in food supplies and unprecedented loss to the struggling agricultural sector. Stay tuned here for the live news and updates related to coronavirus lockdown in India and other parts of the world.
Farmers in Haryana are fearful of massive losses in the days to come, as no mechanism is in place for the procurement of their harvest. The rabi crop, which is ready for harvest, needs to be procured in the days to come or else they may get spoiled, said a Rewari-based farmer.
"Our crops are ready, but we can not sell them as grain markets are closed. We urge govt to procure the harvest in time to save us from losses," he was reported as saying. Similar apprehensions have been raised by farmers of other wheat-producing states as well.
Update by ANI
Haryana: Farmers in Rewari demand government to begin the procurement process as their crops are ready to be harvested. A farmer says,"Our crops are ready, but we can not sell them as grain markets are closed. We urge govt to procure the harvest in time to save us from losses". pic.twitter.com/hHEvL8sFnc
— ANI (@ANI) March 28, 2020
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has demanded the intervention of central as well as the state governments to prevent the farmers from facing another round of losses. If the agrarian sector faces another blow, it would take a long time to receiver, the agrarian body said in a statement, demanding the government to initiate the procurement process at the earliest.
"The harvest of major rabi crops - wheat, chana, and mustard as well as vegetable crops including potato is already underway. Leaving the harvest mid-way will expose the ready crop to vagaries of the weather. Things will get bad if government does not intervene," news agency PTI quoted BKU president Harnam Verma as saying.
The government, while announcing the lockdown on Tuesday, had exempted agricultural supply and cultivation from the shutdown -- by placing it under essential services -- it refrained from exempting certain allied operations.
An updated list of exemptions was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) earlier today, which said that all agencies involved in the procurement process, including those related to the MSP (minimum support price) operations, would be exempted.
Further, the mandis operated for agricultural produce procurement would also remain open, the MHA said, adding that the respective state governments should allow them to function to ensure the smooth supply of essential commodities. The Home Ministry also listed farm machinery, fertilisers manufacturing and agricultural packaging in the list of exemptions.