As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the country to lockdown starting mid-March, farmers who were ready to harvest their rabi crops (such as wheat) are worried. Many of them hire harvester and thresher machines, but curbed transportation has made it difficult for both machines and labour to reach them. Baldev Shukla from Sondhri village says, “The only solution is that the government opens the mandis. Otherwise, we do not know what will happen to our wheat and who will buy it. We have invested all our money in the crop and many of us have taken loans.”
Many farmers also anticipate that as harvesting starts and transportation resumes, crops will flood the market, leading to a fall in selling price—a double whammy for farmers.
Baldev is a farmer from Uttar Pradesh. Nishi and Rajnikant are rural development professionals.