Agri growth may see moderate deceleration in medium to long term due to COVID-19: NITI member

·2-min read

New Delhi, May 18 (PTI) Indian agriculture growth will witness moderate deceleration in the medium- and long-term due to the lockdown to contain coronavirus, according to a NITI Aayog member.

There is a fear of serious overall price deflation in the non-agriculture sector, whereas the agriculture sector is likely to witness temporary episodes of price spikes at the consumer-level and price crashes at the producer-level, NITI Member Ramesh Chand observed in a paper.

'At the macro-level, COVID-19 is likely to affect agriculture and non-agriculture sectors differently. 'While on one hand, the non-agriculture sector is projected to follow a V-shaped or W-shaped recovery, the agriculture growth rate, on the other hand, will follow moderate deceleration in the medium- and long-term without sharp decline or sharp increase in output,' he noted in the paper titled 'COVID-19 and Food System Risks in India'. Chand, who is an agricultural economist, said notwithstanding some general predictions about the impacts of COVID-19, the world seems to be entering an unchartered territory of policy making with uncertainties. 'Prolonged coronavirus disease will pose a huge threat to value chains and supply chains due to higher risks of disruption and cost,' he said adding that this will put pressure on increasing self-reliance and even self-sufficiency in food as against reliance on trade with others. Chand, however, pointed out that it is heartening that amid this pandemic, agricultural activities and food supply have shown remarkable resilience in most countries. Like other countries, India resorted to a country-wide lockdown on March 25, with stringent measures to limit movement of people. The government on Sunday extended the coronavirus lockdown for two more weeks till May 31 with the fourth phase providing more relaxations outside the containment zones including inter-state movement of buses with mutual consent of states that is expected to be of immediate relief for thousands of migrant workers on the roads. PTI BKS MR MR