The lengthy shutdown across Pakistan has not only reduced on-farm operations but has also disrupted the transportation and selling of grains, vegetables, and fruits, as well as the purchasing of farm inputs.
One of the biggest crises is facing the agriculture sector. The unpredictable weather and the ensuing untimely heavy rains and hailstorms combined with the locust attack make it difficult for farmers to sleep in the evening. Similarly, The lockdown since mid-March has shaped several challenges and has had a negative effect on the rural population in general and in particular, on smallholder farmers.
The biggest target of the Covid-19 outbreak is livestock, the most important sub-sector that contributes about 60 percent of the share of agriculture to GDP. Local farmers rear dairy cattle and sell the milk to meet their daily expenses. The closure of tea-stalls, sweet shops and the decreased timing for milk shops under the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the lockdown limited the market for this highly perishable product and lowered its prices thereby.
Hotel closures and the ban on weddings and parties have affected the once-prosperous poultry industry. Vegetables are often sold on the wholesale market at low rates, but end users do not benefit from the low prices, as the intermediaries make a killer profit.
“The first month of the lockdown was especially difficult for farmers as they had to sell their dairy and farm products at throwaway prices,” says Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Kissan Rabita Committee of Pakistan, a representative of small farmers. “Those engaged in the development of horticulture, floriculture, and dairy farming have been shattered with the losses because they were forced to sell their goods at whatever rate the local bazaar offered.”
Extracted from City42 News