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Webinar on Pandemic and the Plantations: 12 June 2020

A webinar on ‘Performance of the Plantations during the Covid19 Pandemic’ was presented by Professor Vinoj Abraham, CDS and Dr. Mithesh Madhavan, Research Associate, NRPPD, CDS, over CISCO Webex Meetings on Friday, the 12th of June, 2020, at 3.30 pm.

It was the fourth webinar in the series on Current Issues in India’s Economy and Society for 2020-21.The paper accompanying  the seminar will soon be published on our website.

Abstract:  This study explores the impact that covid19 disease and its preventive measures would have on the plantation sector, covering four important crops, Tea, Coffee, Rubber and Cardamom. The incidence of the disease is estimated at the district level across plantation growing states. For now, the plantation regions seem to have a relatively safe passage despite being located in states that had deep impact. This is probably due to the lower inter-regional and intra-regional contacts and interactions enabled by their natural terrain. Nevertheless, the economic impact of covid19 and the lockdown is disastrous for the entire sector. The study traces the channels through which the disease and the lockdown measures would impact the sector. These channels are the disruptions; in seasonal operations, in factor and resource supplies; transport, storage and processing; marketing and sales; and demand conditions. These disruptions get manifested in price, quantity and revenue. These are estimated for the four crops separately. The total unrealised revenue due to the lockdown is estimated to be Rs 3843.64 crores for the lockdown period, March 24th to May 31st 2020. This does not include the losses that are to be incurred due to the demand decline, supply-chain disruptions and price fall that is to be manifested in future. This massive economic disaster is bound to have a severe impact on the plantation economy, especially the small growers and the labourers. Urgent measures need to be taken up to arrest the losses and revive the sector. Yet there is very little in the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ package that would help tide over this economic crisis. Immediate measures aimed at demand rejuvenation, arrest of price fall, restarting of plantation operations and restoring of supply chains is called for.  The vantage point of the commodity boards must be exploited to reach out to the stakeholders.