“ Our extensive interactions with various agri-supply chain players (farmers, agri-mandi dealers, etc.) indicate a limited adverse impact on Rabi crop realisations if the lock-down is lifted by mid-Apr’20, as most crops would trade subsequently and agri supply-chain functioning is ensured and enforced across states,” a research note from JM Financial.
Authorities and traders are working out meticulous plans to streamline flow of vehicles and people engaged in supplying these essential commodities amidst the nationwide lockdown, while crowds are being controlled by allowing entry only to large buyers, traders said.
Traders say the current situation will devastate farmers as their produce will start rotting, while urban consumers will face sky-high prices unless the authorities take urgent steps. Policemen say it is impossible to determine if a person or an empty commercial vehicle is engaged in trade of essential commodities.
To restrict movement of people, the district administration of Pune has ordered the petrol pumps to stop sale of petrol to all vehicles excepting those who are on essential services.
In Mumbai and Pune, traders have issued statements that they will shutter their shops on Wednesday, while Nashik merchants said they would do the same. In Delhi’s Azadpur market, supplies poured in normally, but purchase by retailers was down 60-80%. However, government officials have ruled out closure of grain and vegetable markets.
World over in corona affected countries, some distilleries, including Shane Warne’s have stopped manufacturing liquor and started making hand sanitisers. In Maharashtra too, sugar mills are getting higher demand and higher price for SDS (special denatured spirits) used to make hand sanitisers.
The state government has decided to reduce the attendance of government servants from 50% decided earlier to just 25%. "Apart from essential services, please stop all other services, restaurants, shops,offices have been shut down. In Mumbai, Pune, PImpri Chinchavad and Nagpur, all offices and shops will be closed till March 31. Banks will remain open.
The 123 year old act, drafted by the British government in 1897, has already been invoked by the central government in its fight against coronavirus spread.
Traders across the country are struggling to combat rumours about closure of markets and attempts to create artificial shortages. Except chicken, demand for agricultural commodities has not been affected due to coronavirus either in India or in the international market. However, farm-gate prices have fallen due to scare of Covid-19.
The export price of white sugar, which was $425/tonne on February 24, has now come down to $355/tonne, while the price of raw sugar has declined from 15.3 cents per pound to 11.70 cents per pound during the same period.
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