Impact of Covid 19 on Agri sector and how organic farming can help turn a corner

With the worldwide pandemic taking center stage from the beginning of 2020, the ongoing health crisis has
affected all walks of life. Agriculture, the central pillar of the Indian economy, links approximately 263.1 million workers, as per the census of 2011, to almost a whopping billion consumers in India itself.

The Covid- 19 crisis has caused major disruptions in the food and supply chains with restrictions in interstate travel and transportation. Amidst this crisis, numerous articles have sprung up on government initiatives announcing support to the agricultural industry, like declaring an economic stimulus package that provides additional credit support to small scale farmers through the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and Kisan Credit Card (KCC) or
how credit and refinance support will be extended to provide emergency capital funding for farmers. In spite
of all these measures and the slew of benefits provided by the government, it still fails to slow the growing concerns about the repercussions of the pandemic on the agricultural economy.

But not everything tastes of impending doom, for the crisis situation, oversaw a boom in agritech and organic farming. With consumers clicking away to buy produce within the safety of their homes and the once busy Indians resorting to cultivate crops on rooftops and small spaces for a change, not all seems grim. Although organic farming has been around for centuries, the past few decades have seen a major comeback, with more and more people engaging and falling in love with naturally grown fresh vegetables and fruits. The fear of low immunity, endorsing the motto of ‘eat healthy, live healthy’ within communities, nudged concerned moms all around the world to buzz around markets where locally sourced commodities are available. Why go organic in the first place? Although it is time-consuming and labor-intensive, it has its advantages. Firstly, let’s talk about employment opportunities. Steadily increasing demand for organically harvested products increases long-term employment opportunities and this helps in the decrease of immigration in rural areas. By enabling different sections of society to get down to farming, it promotes entrepreneurship. This sustainable form of agriculture has the potential to increase farm incomes for small farmers and thereby improve food security. But most importantly it stands for a healthy way of living and with our current situation, organic farming proves to be a strong contender as the mascot of the agricultural industry.

Now for the big question, how do we get there? There are many government schemes that promote organic farming. Initiatives like the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) provide financial assistance to advertise the bio-fertilizer while Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) urges cluster-based organic farming. Social Media campaigns and informational talks can also encourage citizens towards the cause. Well, the road might be long but it sure is worth it. I remember my Dad venturing out to start his own little organic garden for the first time. His knowledge drawn only from unending open tabs on the internet, articles, and more articles on this topic- how? All it took was one step, a little push in the right direction. A few saplings, patience, the sun, and a few complaints later, the first smile of satisfaction broke as he reaped the fruits of his labor.

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