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

The clampdown imposed by the Authorities in controlling the unfold of the dreaded Covid-19 has thrown the agri-supply chain in a point out of disarray. The agri-markets have began downing their shutters for investing activities and are envisioned to remain closed till the finish of this thirty day period.

This has impacted the place investing of foodgrains and other agri-commodities in these markets, wherever arrivals have thinned down with farmers hesitant to go to the marketplace.

In Gujarat, most of the APMCs are closed till April 2 and the arrivals of seasonal commodities these kinds of as wheat, chana, coriander and mustard have come to a halt. “We normally have a shutdown at APMCs from March twenty five for our once-a-year account closing, but this calendar year we have closed early from March 21 thanks to the virus risk. Arrivals are suspended till April 2 and there will be no auctions for any commodity,” mentioned Atul Kamani, President of APMC Commission Agents Association, in Rajkot.

The Vashi APMC marketplace, in the bigger protection of traders and fee agents, will remain shut till March 31. “We held a assembly these days, whereby it was determined that the marketplace will remain closed till March 31. This is simply because there is a risk of neighborhood transmission of the virus. We are holding the vegetables marketplace open up for a day on Tuesday, immediately after that it will also remain closed,” mentioned Ashok Valunj, former Director, Vashi APMC. Having said that, Valunj clarified that there are no limits on the farmers to offer their crops immediately to the customers.

Logistics hurdles

Fruits and vegetables (F&V) have been exempted from the lockdown in numerous States. Having said that, the prevailing confusion and chaos in the logistics sector is found impacting the movement of the create, which, in convert, could shrink provides to the consuming centres, ensuing in a spike in selling prices in the times forward.

“Though F&V is exempted, the ground actuality is distinct. Harvesting, packing and transporting has develop into a big issue thanks to the clamp down on persons movement,” mentioned Pankaj Khandelwal of INI Farms.

“Even if the create is harvested and delivered, there is uncertainty more than the consignment reaching the intended spot. We hear from transporters that motorists — underneath pressure from their households and thanks to the disorders on the ground these kinds of as non-availability of food and repeated checks and lengthy queues at Point out borders — have abandoned their autos. As a result, we are telling farmers to hold off their harvest as a great deal as probable,” Khandelwal mentioned.

Even further, the Authorities requirements to come out with a resolution to guarantee a smooth passage for F&V autos by communicating with persons on the ground about the exempted classification, he added. In Delhi, the Azadpur Mandi was open up these days. “It will function tomorrow also. But I just cannot say for how lengthy. Like most persons, traders and labourers, too, are extremely nervous as the risk of Covid-19 infection is extremely authentic,” mentioned Rajinder Sharma, a trader mentioned.

“If Delhi federal government needs it to be performing, it should make provisions for sanitising the place and even declare if nearly anything happens to any person it will compensate the person’s loved ones. This sort of issues can instil some self esteem as employees are really scared,” Sharma mentioned.

In Bengaluru, the markets will remain open up on Tuesday on account of the Ugadi competition and will be shut from Wednesday till the thirty day period finish. “Retailers and grocers have stocked enough to get care of provides for the upcoming few of weeks,” mentioned RC Lahoti of Foodgrains Traders Association.

(With inputs from T V Jayan in

New Delhi)