Covid-19 could not have caught India at a more vulnerable moment. Starting April, Indian farms go into mission mode to be able to feed a billion plus people within and millions more outside for rest of the year. That Covid may compromise the mission warrants strategies extraordinaire.
Odisha’s response plan is to meet the virus head-on despite being spared of its wrath; it had reported just 160 positive cases and one death at the time of writing this. That, however, has not left it complacent. For, Odisha, an agrarian State that witnessed impressive growth in crop productivity and farm income in recent years while being disproportionately affected by extreme weather, disparity in farm incomes and high dependence on labour intensive crop production, has much at stake. Agriculture engages nearly two-third of the State’s workforce and is worth Rs 75,800 crore annually.
Given the stakes, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), which is working with Odisha Government to help farmers recover from the cyclone Fani, and boost crop productivity as well as farm incomes by improving the State’s soils, developed a COVID-19 response strategy. The strategy is going into action in parts of Odisha and may have lessons for rest of India.
Read the complete report, Addressing agriculture in view of COVID-19 challenges in Odisha