Impact of the COVID lockdown

Indian vegetable farmers turn to cereal cultivation

In the last few months, many Indian farmers have been turning their backs on vegetable cultivation, as their crops have rotted in the fields, or are lying unsold in markets across the country due to the Covid-19-induced lockdown.

This week, Indra Shekhar Singh, Director-Policy and Outreach, National Seed Association of India (NSAI), stated: “There is 20-30 per cent drop in vegetable seed sales. Farmers are facing a number of issues, including transportation and marketing of vegetables, and hence, many are turning to cereal cultivation. The trend of maize cultivation [among vegetable farmers] is seen in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,”

He added that tomato cultivation will take a major hit, along with lady finger, pumpkin, and lauki. Also, there could be a massive drop in the cultivation of cauliflower across India. Onion seeds have done well in Madhya Pradesh, and therefore, a good onion crop can be expected in the coming time, he added.

According to Vegetable Growers Association of India (VGAI), vegetable farmers have suffered heavy losses during the lockdown and are not ready to suffer anymore.

During the lockdown, some small farmers in Maharashtra joined hands to take vegetables and fruits to the doorsteps of housing societies. As a result, profits earned directly went to cultivators instead of getting divided among middlemen and wholesale dealers, while consumers got better deals. However, according to an article on, these experiments worked well in villages located near the city fringes and were limited to a few farmers.

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