Agri and Food businesses resonating with regulations in the time of COVID-19

By Shubhi Mishra

Ms. Shubhi Mishra (UKIBC) and Dr. Yadav, Director, Chaudhary Charan Singh National Institute of Agricultural Marketing, a Government of India autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Family Welfare, shared their thoughts with industry stakeholders on Agri and Food businesses resonating with regulations in the time of COVID-19.

Both discussed how India has been controlling the transmission of COVID-19; the positive results in doing so are testament to the Government response and to the people of India with different strategies.

Most economic activities continue to remain somewhat restricted, including agriculture, food, and drink too. Additionally, other key sectors directly correlated to the agriculture, food, and drink and affected due to COVID-19 situation are aviation and tourism, HORECA, organised and unorganised retail operations including e-retail, food processing, and international trade.

While the speakers appreciated the action taken by GOI post-lockdown and the measures announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which granted relaxed restrictions in certain industries based on the operational zones.

Shubhi also applauded the support from UK companies in the response to COVID-19 in India. UK companies remain committed to India and continue to believe in the country’s development trajectory. All understand that the components of the supply chain for Agri, the food and drink sector are impacted by the pandemic and seek further measures from the government to support the industry.

The speakers also discussed the direct impact of operational slowdown on the agricultural community like impact on the farmers who have produced raw material for the alco bev manufacturing and how the misinterpretation of the government advisories can cast an impact on the economy.  By way of illustration the guidance note by the Ministry of Shipping advising shipping lines to grant a waiver from the detention and demurrage fees, however, there is inconsistency in the implementation of the directives. For example, some shipping lines are granting waiver until 17th May, some until 3rd May, and some not at all.

UKIBC and NIAM have agreed to take upon any further industry questions and suggestions, pertaining to agriculture, food and drinks sector, which can be of value for both the countries.

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