Community Based Agricultural Practice, Consumption Concept & Market Management During COVID-19 Pandemic

✍ Anupam Subedi

 Covid 19 pandemic is a global health crisis and is the greatest challenge we are facing in this century. The virus broke out in China and has now spread throughout the globe. The most effective measure to prevent ourselves and control the pandemic found till now can be stated as lockdown and social distancing. Most of the world’s greatest cities have been deserted . Every activities in the world are either stopped or slowed down just to stop the spread of the virus  People are asked not to leave their houses nor to travel.

The complete or partial shutdown of all the economic and social activities is likely to create an economic crisis throughout the world. The concern, not only includes difficult lifestyle or job losses but also includes rising food insecurity and braking of agricultural supply chain. This pandemic is likely to cause lack of food products and unusual price hiking. If these concerns are not taken into consideration it is likely that mankind will fall into some serious trouble.

The current scenario in context of agriculture is every agricultural activities is disrupted by COVID 19 . The unavailability of working people has become a serious issue specially for the Labour intensive large scale producers. Travelling is restricted or put into strict regulations which creates a problem in transportation. The difficulty in the availability of pre requisites is also causing a problem. Such problems must be taken into consideration by the authorized bodies making and implimenting plans and policies.

As the producers are facing a hard time , same goes with the consumers. They have a demand of products but are not able to reach them. This problem gives rise to the concept of community based production and consumption concept which aims to mitigate the food unavailability problem following the practice of social distancing and minimized movement . For this we need to have a local level area which could be a municipality , rural municipality, a ward or a specified locality which we will refer as ‘Community’. This concept can be stated in two points:

       •    Production within a community can be consumed within the community.

There is more chances of spreading this virus by the long distance travelling. But traveling within a community can be properly managed and regulated. So, emphasis must be given to the local production and farmers. The farmers and the land within the community can be utilized to its fullest to fulfil the need of the community. It will reduce the need of export and import between two communities which will contribute in movement restrictions. As far as possible people should be prepared and willing to manage their daily needs from the community products.

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A simple example to demonstrate the view can be : If millet is produced in the community , it must be taken as the alternative for rice . It will reduced the need of import of rice and export of millet. Furthermore people in the community must be sensible enough not to create a unnecessary demand of product like Rice which have an alternative.

  • Relief Package that includes locally grown products

Government has been providing relief packages to the needy ones. And this view simply suggest that the relief package comprise of locally grown products. If maize is produced in the community the relief package must contain maize products rather than the imported rice product. This ultimately utilizes the locally produced goods and satisfies the need 

In both ways producers and consumers are benefited. The producers will get a market to sell their goods and consumers will get an opportunity to satisfy their need. This is a situation of pandemic so we must be wise enough to adjust with these goals. This will furthermore bring a certain stability in the economy of the community. In case of the complex situation we can not rely on the goods produced in a far distance. Following these concept the goods will not be wasted, or better to say most of the goods will be consumed creating a less need of export.

A certain amount of chicken is produced within a community and the farmer wants to sell them. At the same time there is a demand of chicken in some place within the community. As things are not easy as usual there becomes a communication gap which may cause waste in one place and unfulfilled demand in next place. Some farmers even started to kill the chickens as they couldn’t feed them.

  • Emphasis on storage and market management while minimizing the communication gap between producers and consumers 
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Immobility is causing a lack of communication between consumers and producers. It is necessary that the producers know what consumers  need and the consumers know what producers are producing. This information transfer is lacking somewhere due to difficulty in availability of goods as usual. This is causing a serious problem with perishable commodities.This can be better understood by taking an example of meat products. A certain amount of chicken is produced within a community and the farmer wants to sell them. At the same time there is a demand of chicken in some place within the community. As things are not easy as usual there becomes a communication gap which may cause waste in one place and unfulfilled demand in next place. Some farmers even started to kill the chickens as they couldn’t feed them. By the proper marketing methodologies products can be transported to the demand area. Clearing the beaurocratic hurdles and implementing proper and regulated transportation plans within the community, For the purpose the modern day technologies can be properly utilized. Development of e-commerce can be an effective way. It can be helpful not only within the community but within the country as well. Likewise the proper use of social networking sites for advertising products and seeking buyer or seller can be a good way. It is necessary that the perishable products be taken good care of , so the collection centres and food banks should be moved near to the production area. Development of good telecommunications between the clusters of society and farmers can help both the sides.

The execution of the concept requires certain movement policies and people’s wise thinking towards the pandemic. If every community is able the follow the concept , the chances of food scarcity will obviously be minimum as well as the economy of the community can be stabilized. It is very effective for the small scale and medium scale farmers and along with good policies it can be a great fortune for large scale farmers too.

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