The pandemic has brought unemployment, restrictions to exports and imports, loss of income, and an uncertainty in the agricultural sector.
COVID-19 has negatively affected industries across the globe. The measures implemented to try and curb the spread of the virus have disrupted business systems and routines. These measures include social distancing and lockdowns globally. Since the agricultural industry has not been exempted from the struggles that the global business market is currently experiencing, here are some of the ways that COVID-19 has affected the agricultural industry:
COVID-19 has led to the agricultural industry having to furlough several workers regardless of job type and level. Farmers, agronomists, veterinarians, suppliers and even clerical staff members have all been affected depending on how a particular business has decided to adapt to the pandemic. The massive dismissal of workforces is a result of the low demand for products and services, causing massive losses to businesses. Maintaining a workforce when the money being spent is more than the money earned leads to the displacement of workers.
Despite the negative effects of the pandemic regarding unemployment, one can explore channels that tackle agriculture recruiting to explore options for workers who want to return to the agricultural industry.
2. Restricted Product Access
Borders being closed as a result of lockdowns in different countries have made it difficult for the agricultural industry to perform cross-border trading. For example, if a particular country relied on its neighbor for organic fertilizer, the lockdown impedes the export and import of such fertilizers. This has a ripple effect, in which crops are not fertilized, causing them to wilt and die. Another effect would be that farms are forced to search for alternative options, which isn’t always the best but the only available option.
Restricted product access also means that businesses may shift to different strategies to fulfil supply demands. For example, if a business delivered crop boxes that contained six different types of crop, they may have to change the box to include only three of the crops that they could produce without relying on neighboring countries. A shift in business strategy can lead to the loss of clients due to the changes in the quality or quantity of the products produced.
3. Lack Of Production
Depending on the lockdown measures of a particular geographic area, agricultural workers may be required to stay at home except for when acquiring essentials. A complete stay-at-home order means that there is little to no crop production taking place. Production at lower rates results in shortages of products, affecting the ability to supply the demands of clients. If the demand for a product increases or remains unchanged, but the supply only lessens, there is bound to be an increase in its price—such is the law of supply and demand. Agriculturalists have to crucially analyze their current production methods and adapt new production methods during these difficult times.
4. Loss Of Income
Depending on the dynamics of the agricultural business, when there is no production, there is no income. The level of production directly influences income. This means that workers need to find alternative ways to have a source of income in order to provide for their needs at a difficult time like this. However, this is tough to do, especially when there are lockdowns in place and people have been advised to stay at home.
Before COVID-19, crop production may have been abundant in anticipation of a peak supply season. The sudden change in dynamics, such as lockdown measures and client loss, resulted in a lot of produce going to waste. Fresh produce intended to be sold immediately rotted away in storage due to a low demand or restriction in exports. Wastage results to loss of income and revenue for businesses, which is difficult to negate or minimize due to the ongoing pandemic.
The pandemic makes the future uncertain. Agriculturalists don’t know when borders will be re-opened for trading. And when these open, they can only hope that their clients will be able to support their businesses the way they used to. But this would not be the case as their clients, too, have been affected financially by the pandemic. This kind of uncertainty means agriculturalists need to tread lightly, and carefully plan for best and worst possible scenarios.
The agricultural industry has been negatively affected by the pandemic at a large scale. The pandemic brought about unemployment, restriction to product export and import, lower rates of production, loss of income, wastage, and uncertainty of the future regarding agricultural business strategies. Exploring options such as employment channels that have access to solutions regarding some of these challenges is one of the ways that one can try to tackle the current situation.
Elma Sanchez is a successful blogger with more than fifteen years of experience in the industry. Elma focuses on producing business-related articles online – both on her blog and other websites.