COVID-19 Induced Lockdown Effects on Agricultural Commodity Prices and Consumer Behaviour in India – Implications for Food Loss and Waste Management
Cariappa AGA, Acharya KK, Adhav CA, Sendhil R and P Ramasundaram (2021). COVID-19 induced lockdown effects on agricultural commodity prices and consumer behaviour in India – Implications for food loss and waste management. Socio-Economic Planning Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seps.2021.101160
57 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2020 Last revised: 30 Sep 2021
Date Written: August 27, 2020
Distortion in distribution and consumption of agricultural commodities is a result of disruptive shocks in prices and food value chains leading to a significant food loss as well as waste. We investigated the COVID-19 induced lockdown effects in India through an interrupted time series analysis coupled with a survey result of 729 consumers, 225 farmers and synthesis of the literature evidence on food loss as well as food waste. Our article complements the literature inventory on COVID-19 by estimating and tracking the effects on prices and consumer behaviour in the long-run apart from discussing the implications for food loss and waste. Prices post-lockdown shot up immediately and significantly for chickpea (4.8%), mung bean (5.2%), and tomato (78.2%) corroborating the loss in highly perishable product – tomato – owing to its spiked price. We find no structural break in prices due to lockdown implying that lockdown-induced price change was not sufficient to alter the long-run price movement, and the prices of the major commodities reverted to the pre-lockdown levels. The pandemic induced lockdown did restrict the access to food markets and a majority of consumers (75.31%) experienced a price increase across COVID zones of different intensity of incidence leading to food loss along supply chain and wastage at consumers end. Consumers’ livelihood affected from moderate (59.53%) to severe (3.3%) with 92 per cent reporting a change in shopping behavior. The Kruskal-Wallis test on consumption behavior change indicated a significant shift among the consumers reporting altered income, mostly in the downside, post-lockdown. Despite the relaxation for agricultural related activities during the lockdown, farmers reported disruption in disposing their winter produce barring wheat, bolstered by a record state procurement in 2020. The paper affirms that the pandemic has caused a significant price change and unprecedented panic purchase that led to the food wastage but subsided soon exhibiting the resilience in Indian agriculture. We strongly recommend for promoting the capacity and collective resilience of small-scale production systems through institutions, policies and reforms. Contract farming, farmer producer organizations, creation and functioning of social safety nets to overcome income, production and price shocks, access to digital national markets and capacity building on food waste management practices will insulate vulnerable section as well as reduce the loss of food across supply chain.
Keywords: COVID-19, retail and wholesale price, supply disruption, interrupted time series, food waste, food loss
JEL Classification: D12, E31, Q11, Q18, Q13, L51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation