ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Economic Impact of the 2020 COVID-19 Lockdown on Indian Farmers

​The impact of the pandemic on the farmers with different farm sizes is analysed. The changes in the income of farmers are highlighted, and the mitigation of the financial downturn by farmers using government cash transfers and sale of assets is explored. The change in the uptake of loans during the pandemic is investigated.

Nearly one in two Indians are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods (Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare 2020). This is not only income from cultivation but also wages from agricultural labour. A National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD 2018) survey conducted in 201617 found that about one-third of the agricultural household income comes from wages. The initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, in early 2020, and the public health response (for example, a strictly enforced, national lockdown) severely disrupted wage labour.

The objective of the study is to describe the financial impact from the farmers perspective. First, it describes changes in farmers income from wages and livestock over the course of the pandemic. Then, it explores how farmers have mitigated the financial downturn with the receipt of government cash transfers and sale of assets. Finally, the study explores how the uptake of loans has changed during the pandemic as compared to 2019.

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Published On : 17th Jan, 2024

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