India food shortage: Food production shackled by coronavirus – ‘Farmers can’t travel!

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University of Kent economics lecturer Dr Amrit Amirapu said India has had one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns in the world put in place and during an Express.co.uk interview, he warned India’s food production and distribution chain has seen major disruptions. He explained this could have long term impacts and negatively affect the food production industry.

Dr Amirapu said: “The supply of food has been negatively affected.

“In India there has been one of the strictest lockdown imposed in the world.

“That has made it difficult for migrant labourers to continue working on farms during the harvest period.

“There has been a reduction in the supply of labour needed to harvest food.

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“In developing countries agriculture is far more labour intensive than it is in rich countries.”

Dr Amirapu concluded that this reduction in Labour could have notable ripple effects as we move through this pandemic.

He also explained that there were other issues coronavirus had caused besides reduction in workers.

He continued: “India is a big food producer, at the same time there have been reports that farmers have found it difficult, after harvesting food, to travel to agricultural food markets.

“Apparently the police are preventing them from doing that under the interpretation they are breaking the lockdown rules.

“It is the case that in some areas food supply itself is directly affected.”

Dr Amirapu also highlighted the worst problem developing countries could face during the coronavirus pandemic in regards to food.

He said: “The worst problem for developing countries, in terms of food shortages, is there are a lot of poor countries that rely on food imports.

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“So for many of these countries, they import quite a lot of their food to the tune of billions of dollars worth of food.

“The problem is there is going to be rising exchange rates causing the price in food to go up in local currency.

“So for example, if you are in Zambia the price of imported rice is going to up.

“This applies even if nothing else happens, even if the price of rice internationally doesn’t change.

“That is going to happen and at the same time, unemployment is going to increase all across the world.

“People are going to have less money to spend on food.”

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