Opinion on Impact of Covid-19 Lockdown on Agriculture, Food Security and livelihoods in Pakistan

Author(s)

Khurshied Ahmed khan , M. Ikram ul Haq , Jamal Muhammad Khan , Muhammad Zahoor , Osama Gohar , Muhammad Haris Sher , Muhammad Salman Hameed , Muhammad Athar Khaliq , Shahbaz Ali , Ahmed Kamran , Tahria Batool Qasrani , Maqbool Ahmad , Nisar Hussain , Matlob Ahmad , Muhmmad Ijaz Hussain , Asma Noureen ,

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Volume 4 - June 2020 (06)

Abstract

COVID-19 now spreading in Pakistan, massive consequences to health and livelihoods are feared as lockdown impacted the food basket and triggered logistics and harvest crisis especially in Punjab and Sindh. Millions of farmers are at the edge of disaster due to shortage of means of transportation, absence of labor force and threat of COVID-19 transmission. We addressed the impact of lockdown on wheat harvesting season in Pakistan and food prices post-COVID-19 outbreak and agriculture supply chain management of vegetables, fruits and pulses. As reported cases increasing in agricultural bread baskets of Pakistan (Punjab and Sindh) in which approximately 70% of harvest of wheat depend on traditional farm laborers, who came from low-income and remote zones before the harvesting period. But this time due to prolonged and partial lock down in all remote and industrial zones of country they could not make it the right profit of the year. The Government announced finical support packages and partially lifted the ban on movement of carriage and equipment for harvesting, but the announcement packages shown to be not as much of useful because most of our machinery needs maintenances and repairing every year around the harvest season and the workshops continued in state of shutdown. It is imperative to keep an eye on the food situation in the country in the middle of  this pandemic because keeping supply chains functioning well is crucial to food security. It should be noted that 2 to 3 million deaths in the Bengal famine of 1943 were due to food supply disruptions - not a lack of food availability. There have been information’s of certain anxiety and panic purchasing and interruptions in logistics. It is recommended that to safeguard food security and to reduce the impact of the lockdown, we need to review food policy and analyze how market forces will respond to the imbalanced supply and demand, storage facilities and capacity, price control of products.

Keywords

Covid-19, pandemic, Partial lockdown, Wheat harvesting, Daily wag

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