This issue is titled Covid-19 and Indian Agriculture: From Crisis to Opportunities. The bulletin was published by the ICRIER Agricultural Policy, Sustainability and Innovation (SI) team with the aim of reaching policy makers, private companies and development practitioners.
Using the results of an ICRIER study of 2,917 migrant workers in six states – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal – the editorial of the bulletin Covid-19 Impact on Indian Agriculture and Migrants suggests that the average household income of migrants decreased by 85 percent from June to August 2020.
Although 63.5 percent of migrant workers had migrated back to the target areas by February 2021, the household income of the returnees was still a 7.7 percent decrease from the level before the lockdown.
India recorded record food grain production of 305.4 million tons in the 2020-21 crop year, along with historically high sourcing of wheat (43 million tons) and rice (57.4 million tons) on June 27, 2021. 30 to 40 Percent of CPI inflation of 6.3 percent in June 2021 can be traced back to „inflationary pressures from the food and beverage category” – according to the second article of the bulletin, India’s Food Inflation Imbroglio.
Using the example of legumes, which account for 11 percent of current CFPI inflation, this article discusses whether the central government’s recent move to (re) introduce stocks for private trade in legumes can control inflation.
Regarding the Agri-Food Trends and Analytics Bulletin (AF-TAB), Dr. Deepak Mishra, Director and CEO of ICRIER: “The pandemic was a severe blow to this country and we are still under its threat. But it is also the time of renewal and revival. At this point, an evidence-based, analytical publication like this has the potential to educate our policy makers to rebuild a more resilient India. „
Regarding the bulletin highlights, Dr. Ashok Gulati, Professor of Agriculture at Infosys, SI and Editor-in-Chief of AF-TAB: “Healthy production and procurement is good news right now as the government has several (food) support programs for poor / vulnerable / migrant workers who have lost their livelihoods due to the contagion . Can’t we turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity for our long overdue agricultural reforms? „
As the articles in this issue examine the current political landscape, they also shed light on emerging private sector innovations that are tacitly changing the contours of Indian agriculture. A case study by Sahyadri FPCL, for example, shows how deepening the interface between institution and technology through the merging of farmers’ collectives or FPOs can promote the connection between farmers and markets.
A note on technological innovations for food waste management points to an ongoing SI study that has estimated total post-harvest loss (from grain, oilseeds, fruits, vegetables, plantations, and spices and livestock products) in India to be around Rs 1.30. 481 crore for 2020-21.