IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON SMALL HOLDER FARMERS
On the 11th of March 2020, Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO). The pandemic resulted in countries declaring lockdowns, by April 2020 about half the world’s population was under some form of lockdowns and those countries who were not on lockdown couldn’t do business with those countries who were on lockdown, limiting their economy. These lockdowns meant businesses had to be on halt affecting people’s source of income and livelihood as people had to stay at home. Also, importation and exportation were stopped or were reduced. Even though some countries have lifted the lockdown, its impact is still felt and some people, companies, and organizations would not return to the way they lived before the pandemic.
The pandemic affected farmers, especially smallholder farmers. There was no room for preparation for the lockdown, so farmers were hit by a pandemic and lockdown unprepared. The article will be discussing on the impact of covid-19 on smallholder farmers. We must talk and know the impact of the pandemic of covid-19 on smallholder farmers to prepare the smallholder farmers in the future. The lockdowns might be over but adjusting oneself or business to suit situations like a lockdown is important.
Some of the impacts are:
- Lack of labor: Aside from the lockdowns, one of the things that the pandemic caused was fear, this caused a lot of lack of labor on the farm because people could not work because of the lockdowns and fear. This was a huge problem for smallholder farmers because this caused a decrease in production as a result of the fact that people were not on the field to do the necessary work on the farm. Unlike smallholder farmers, most large holder farmers depend on machines to do work on the field, this causes less use of human labor.
- Limited market access: during the pandemic countries stopped the importation and exportation and farmers who depend on the exportation of their products for their income were greatly affected and even those who depend on sending their produce to wholesalers and retailers were also affected because businesses were closed. This limited their access to the market.
- Spoilt produce: limited access to the market caused excess supply but low demand, unlike other products in other sectors, farm produce are perishable goods and have a short span. This leads to spoilt produce on the farm.
- Shortage of income: when demand is reduced as a result of limited market access, supply goes down to meet the expectation of demand and therefore reduces the income of suppliers. During the pandemic, the smallholder farmer saw his income reduced even in seasons that he usually expects his income to grow.
The pandemic is a wake-up call to smallholder farmers and agricultural institutions should help smallholder farmers to identify where they are limited and improve on it. For example, some smallholder farmers depend on the importation of feeds, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers, so during the pandemic, they were limited. The agricultural sector should support the use of localized feeds, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers.