Impact of COVID-19 on the Agriculture Sector: Survey Analysis of Farmer Responses from Kerala and Tamil Nadu States in India

Estone Jiji Habanyati, Sivaraj Paramasivam, Parthasarathy Seethapathy, Aravind Jayaraman, Rahul Kedanhoth, Pozhamkandath Karthiayani Viswanathan, Sudheesh Manalil

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11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The global COVID-19 pandemic has hit the agriculture sector hard around the world. A study was conducted to assess the impact of the pandemic on cropping patterns, crop management, usage of chemical inputs and their organic alternatives, harvesting, and marketing avenues through a survey approach in the two states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India. A total of 250 farmers participated in the study, the data was analyzed by Chi-square test and Kruskal–Wallis test. The assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on some aspects was undertaken by dividing the study period into three phases. Though a smaller number of people were infected with COVID-19 in the initial phase of the pandemic compared to the later phases, farm operations and the procurement of inputs were significantly affected at this phase as there was a sudden disruption in transportation due to COVID-19-induced movement restrictions. During the entire study period, commodities such as rice, bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and flowers suffered maximum crop loss compared to pulses, groundnuts, cotton, and rubber. Among fertilizers, the maximum shortage was observed for chemical fertilizers (46%) and biofertilizers (30%) compared to cow dung (18%) and poultry manure (6%), indicating that farmers tended to use more local materials that could be easily procured and accessed compared to shop-based inputs. A rise in the cost of cultivation, scarcity of farm workforce, and difficulty in hiring farm machinery all have contributed to the loss of profit during the pandemic period. As a response to COVID-19, growers initiated post-harvest processing of commodities, and cropping systems remained the same during the period. The paper also discusses some remedial measures to be adopted by households in the future, to minimize the impacts of such pandemics in the agrarian sector.

Original languageEnglish
Article number503
JournalAgronomy
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

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