The southwest monsoon has arrived in most parts of South Asia and farmers in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal have started planting the summer crop. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the already distressed agriculture sector in these countries in different ways, and the stakes couldn’t be higher for farmers in this cropping season.
With growth shrinking in the industrial and services sectors, hope is now pinned on adequate monsoon rainfall and farmers gathering a good harvest to breathe life back into the battered economies.
As the pandemic-forced lockdowns disrupted labour mobility and vehicular transportation, farmers have struggled to harvest and sell the winter crop, leading to widespread losses across the subcontinent. "In the past few months, I have fed vegetables from the farm to the livestock as I couldn’t sell them," said Ishwar Acharya, a farmer from Morang district in eastern Nepal.
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