Food Supply Chains and COVID-19 | Ramifications of COVID-19 on Food Supply & Demand, Agriculture, and Farmer's Disruptive Conditions

Food Supply Chains and COVID-19 | Ramifications of COVID-19 on Food Supply & Demand, Agriculture, and Farmer's Disruptive Conditions

The detrimental response of Covid-19 in food security, food supply, food demand, import and export, the impact of covid-19 on the agricultural sector, supply chain, disturbance in farmer's lives

In 2020, the emergence of Covid-19 has impacted a threshold amount of loss around the world creating menacing havoc of the food crisis. Covid-19 has fluctuated the food security of millions of people resulting in malnutrition and hunger.

In Urban areas, people are struggling to access fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish because of border restrictions and lockdowns.

For example, slowing harvests in some parts of the world, leaving millions of seasonal workers without livelihoods, while also constraining transport of food to markets. And food markets & meat processing plants are being forced to close in many locations due to serious COVID-19 outbreaks among workers

The collapse in global demand for internationally produced agri-food products, growing disruptions to local food markets, and increasing food access issues due to loss of critical income sources has created the greatest fear in food security and nutrition. And due to this, we can expect to see further material impacts in peoples’ lives through low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high-income economies.

Detrimental Response in Food Security :

The decrement of food stock and shock of surging prices of food had greatly affected the food supply worsening the purchasing power of consumers and disability of producing dispense food in the market.

Food Supply:

According to the World Bank, disruption in food supply chains and shocks in food production, as well as a decline in incomes, have created stress and food insecurity in countries in Covid-19.

  • Due to the shortage of labor through travel restrictions, morbidity, rules for social distancing has affected the food chain of traders, producers, processors, and logistics.
  • Indian economy center has estimated that unemployment shot up to 23% in the first week of April from 8.4% in mid-March and in urban areas, unemployment ascended to 30.9% as of April 5.
The lockdown and shutdown will lead to untold misery for the poor and the workers of the informal sector, But, due to their high degree of subsistence on farming, it would also lead precarious lives to hunger and malnutrition

The developed countries depend on the supplies provided by mainly developing countries.

Therefore, the disruption in the supply will affect the developed countries, Europe, and Central Asia.

Food Demand:

The catastrophe in the supply chain will affect the demand-side too. Due to the stay-at-home restrictions and havoc of not getting enough food had created an emergency in public to buy a large amount of food stock. Some cases led to panic-buying which induced temporary scarcity in grocery supplies, followed by drastic changes in consumer behavior.

Imports and Exports:

The proliferation in food prices bans on export, and loss of revenue has created economic contraction. During the pandemic, governments across the world impose lockdowns and shut their borders. Therefore, the fear that food markets are going to be affected by logistical constraints and shortages in labor, puts pressure on the prices.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Agricultural Sector:

Agriculture provides income to more than 1 billion people across the globe and is the backbone of many developing nations.

  • The preventive measures taken to control the pandemic hinder the production and distribution of agricultural products.
  • Agricultural production is a long process from planting, nurturing, harvesting to commodity shipment, which involves labor at various stages. These activities are hampered by travel limits imposed by governments across the globe to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Agriculture and Supply chains:

COVID-19 is disrupting some activities in agriculture and supply chains such as :

  • The non-availability of migrant labor is interrupting some harvesting activities, particularly where wheat and pulses are being harvested.
  • Prices have declined for wheat, vegetables, and other crops, yet consumers are often paying more.
  • There are disruptions in supply chains because of transportation problems and other issues.
  • The closure of hotels, restaurants, sweet shops, and tea shops during the lockdown is already depressing milk sales.
  • Limits on the mobility of people across borders and lockdowns are contributing to labor shortages for agricultural sectors in many countries
  • Social distancing requirements have reduced the numbers of import and export inspectors at borders, increasing the time needed for customs clearance

Disturbance in Farmer’s Lives:

Millions of agricultural workers – waged and self-employed – while feeding the world, regularly face high levels of working poverty, malnutrition, and poor health, and suffer from a lack of safety and labor protection as well as other types of abuse. With low and irregular incomes and a lack of social support, many of them are spurred to continue

Millions of agriculture workers are facing problems due to the scarcity of wages and not having liability and other sources of income.

  • Lack of safety and labor protection,
  • With low and irregular incomes and a lack of social support, many of them are spurred to continue working in unsafe conditions,
  • Exposing themselves and their families to additional risks,
  • Due to fluctuation in income wages, they may resort to negative coping strategies, such as distress sale of assets, predatory loans, or child labor.


Covid-19 has a deleterious effect on the small-scale workers who are the most important source for any country and they are the only ones who are suffering the aftermath daily of many unfortunate events such as due to lockdown, laborers are not allowed to travel, impacting their household wages, farmers cannot sell harvests to retail market due to blockage of transportation in lockdown impacting their wastage of food grains and crops, farmers cannot afford education, so children give up education in middle.