Addressing COVID-19 impacts on agriculture, food security, and livelihoods
With rapid spreading of COVID-19 in Nepal, precarious consequences on health and livelihoods of Nepalese are feared. Even the government has announced lockdown to limit virus transmission. In spite of precarious condition, basic needs such as sound health, agricultural stuffs, food security, safety, internet services are desperately needed in order to perform day to day activities.
Nepal has taken early action to limit the Unfold of COVID-19, ordering a lockdown for individuals since April 29 (in Kathmandu). Despite of precaution, The novel coronavirus has unfolded widely in Nepal as in comparision to other countries. And also the range of reportable infections is high with 542,256 cases and 6951 deaths till May 27. However, as COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly, there’s nice concern concerning the disease’s potential unfold and impact. Nepal should be prepared for a doable surge. Testing ought to be swollen considerably. The govt. views the pattern of the Unfold of COVID-19 as almost like the 2009 H1N1 respiratory disease pandemic, which means the unfold is unlikely to be uniform.
These measures might facilitate in limiting the health crisis, but—as in alternative countries—the complete closedown of all economic activities except essential services can produce slump and misery for the poor, with increase in unemployment and food insecurity. Wage laborers, indigenous people, and women from marginalized groups and regions are already vulnerable in food security. The economic shock can be more severe for Nepal, because of following reasons. Firstly, pre-COVID-19 the economy was retarded due to existing issues of state, low incomes, rural distress, deficiency disease, and widespread difference. Secondly, Nepal’s massive informal sector is especially vulnerable.
Due to lack of regular salaries or incomes, people depending on agriculture, migrant, and alternative informal staff would be hardest-hit throughout the pandemic. Here, I want to draw your concentration on the possible impacts on agriculture, supply chains, food, nutrition security and livelihoods. Though COVID-19 has affected every sector of economy, it is disrupting major activities in agriculture and supply chains. Preliminary reports show that the non-availability of migrant labor is interrupting planting activities, notably in wherever maize, rice used to be harvested. There are disruptions in provide chains to transportation issues and alternative problems. Costs have declined for fruits, vegetables, and other crops, nevertheless, consumers are paying additional. Media reports show that the closure of hotels, restaurants, sweet retailers, and tea retailers throughout the lockdown is already depressing milk sales. Meanwhile, the poultry farmers’ area unit was badly hit as a result of information, notably on social media, that the chicken area unit are suspected to be the carriers of COVID-19.
Here are some measures to operate the agricultural sector and provide chains smoothly:
- The govt. has properly issued internment tips that exempt farm operations and provide chains. However, implementation issues resulting in labor shortages and falling costs ought to be corrected.
- Keeping provide chains functioning well is crucial to food security. It ought to be noted that a three million deaths within the geographical region famine of 1943 was because of food provide disruptions—not a scarcity of food handiness.
- Farm populations should be shielded from the coronavirus to the extent doable by testing and active social distancing.
- Farmers should have continuing access to markets. This may be a combination of personal markets and government acquisition.
- Tiny poultry and farm farmers would like additional targeted facilitate, as their pandemic-related input provides and market-access problems are imperative.
- Farmers and agricultural staff ought to be enclosed within the government’s help package and any social protection programs addressing the crisis.
- As lockdown measures have exaggerated, demand for home delivery of groceries and E-commerce has increased. This trend ought to be inspired and promoted.
- The govt. ought to promote trade by avoiding export bans and import restrictions.
- Social safety needs should be provided for the victims who are facing health shock and economic shock.
- The closedown can cause much misery for casual staff and also the poor. World Health Organization has predict this situation to be more precarious, facing hunger and starvation.
- The most effective way of addressing this imperative is to use social safety needs extensively to stabilize their lives with food and money.