Valley News Desk

Both lives and livelihoods are at risk from this pandemic. The disease is spreading quickly. This is no longer a regional issue, it is a global problem calling for a global response. We know that it will eventually retreat, but we don’t know how fast this will happen. We also know that this shock is somewhat unusual as it affects significant elements of both food supply and demand. Supply will be disrupted due to the disease’s impact on people’s lives and well-being, but also the cultivation process is also affected due to covid19. The demand of food increases day by day because supply is restricted due to pandemic. Everyone is worried about the current crisis of food trade and it’s cultivation. We know that border closures, quarantines, and market, supply chain and trade disruptions could restrict people’s access to sufficient/diverse and nutritious sources of food, especially in countries hit hard by the virus or already affected by high levels of food insecurity. We are faced with a looming food crisis, unless measures are taken fast to protect the most vulnerable, keep global food supply chains alive and mitigate the pandemic’s impacts across the food system.

Social distancing and living under a lockdown appear to be the only effective ways of dealing with the pandemic. As India lacks the resources to significantly ramp up testing, imposing a lockdown was the government’s preferred option. Although there is limited evidence to suggest that this strategy may be working in containing the spread of the virus, its after-effects on thousands of migrant workers is already out in the open. Distrustful of the government’s promise of providing support, most migrant workers decided to walk back to their home States despite efforts by the state machinery to prevent them from moving out. The government has an opportunity to help farmers who are battling declining demand and lower prices. Migrants are not the only ones who are facing the after-effects of the lockdown. With the economy coming to a complete halt in most of the informal and formal enterprises in urban areas, the lockdown is also likely to affect the large population in rural areas, a majority of whom are dependent on agriculture. At a time when the rural economy was witnessing declining incomes, both for casual workers and self-employed workers, even before the pandemic broke out, this lockdown is only going to hurt the agricultural economy further. Even before the lockdown, rural wages were declining in real terms but there were hopes for agricultural incomes rising with food prices.
In the short run, we will likely witness a breakdown of supply chains of agricultural produce with no facilities for transportation of produce. This is likely to hurt those engaged in the production of fruits and vegetables, which are perishable goods and cannot be stored. With horticultural production exceeding food grain production in the last decade, many farmers are likely to face uncertain or no markets for their produce. Media reports have already confirmed that farmers are finding it difficult to dispose horticultural produce. Some of them have taken the extreme step of destroying their produce. There will also be short-term impacts on food grains and other rabi crops that were ready to be harvested at the beginning of April. In some cases, harvesting may be postponed but it is difficult to do so beyond a week or a fortnight.
Some of the short-term impacts may affect price realization by farmers but the real worry for farmers is going to be the decline in prices for the majority of agricultural produce. There are already signs of a collapse in agricultural prices, which predates the outbreak of the pandemic. The food price index of the Food and Agricultural Organization, which was showing a rising trend in food prices until January 2020, reported a 15% decline in prices month-on-month in April 2020. This is likely to worsen further, But even for food grains and other crops, there is likely to be downward pressure on prices due to declining demand. The slowdown in the economy domestically and the expected recession worldwide will contribute to lower demand for agricultural commodities.
The recent spell of hailstorm in Kashmir demolishes the horticulture sector ,this natural disaster breaks the backbone of Kashmir , areas has battered various vegetables and fruit crops, hampering the income prospects of scores of farmers. Villages in the vicinity of Pulwama ,Sopore ,Shopian, Budgam Ganderbal town for the second consecutive day experienced hailstones accompanied by rain, which partially damaged apple and cherry crop .
Areas between Budgam, Sopore and Ganderbal received heavy hailstorm for about 20 to 25 minutes on Wednesday resulting in similar damage. Crops such as apple, cherry, almond, pears and other stone fruits along with vegetables like peas, cauliflower, tomatoes, and cabbage have been damaged. Frequent hailstorm has left the farmers worried as their crops are getting destroyed and they are unable to get fair price for their produce in the market. The farmers have appealed the state government to provide compensation as this year, the unpredictable weather has already jeopardized various crops.

Last year on 3 November 2019 Kashmir saw an untimely heavy snowfall, which caused huge damage to apple growers. Apple growers were the hardest hit as the snowfall didn’t only damage the apple crop, but also the branches of apple trees laden with fruit, making them crumble under the weight of snow. The sudden snowfall also disrupted the transportation of Kashmiri apple to outside the state as the national highway remained blocked for several days due to extreme weather. Yesterday hailstorm and strong winds, besides heavy rains caused huge damage to crops and vegetable farms in Kashmir, leaving farmers in distress over expected losses. Farmers in Shopain , Pulwama , Ganderbal , Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir were worried as their crops have suffered massive damaged due to the hailstorm. Farmer invested huge amount of money for sowing high yielding vegetable seeds, but the hailstorm destroyed their entire fields.

Pandemic and hailstorm demolishes the agriculture and horticulture sector in Kashmir ,farmers are worried ,labor’s are in hypertension , stress and anxiety circulates all around .Now it’s clear that agriculture and horticulture sector will be affected due to short term disruptions and long term impact of the pandemic. There is an opportunity for the government to help the farmers. Farmers are the back bone of every nation, present situation demands compensation for farmers. When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.”

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Valley News Desk