FFTC Journal of Agricultural Policy

FFTC Journal of Agricultural Policy

Accepted Manuscripts

Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on Smallholder Farmers and Vulnerable Rural People in Viet Nam

Tran Cong Thang, Truong Thi Thu Trang, Nguyen Thi Hai Linh, Nguyen Thi Thuy

This paper aims to provide empirical evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agriculture and rural development in Viet Nam, with a focus on smallholder farmers and vulnerable rural people. Using contextual analysis, the paper, which based on a quick survey of 12 provinces in the country, provides a panorama of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on agriculture and rural development. Findings of the quick survey on the pandemic impacts on rural households’ livelihoods, including agricultural and non-agricultural production activities are followed by identifying priority areas for government policy intervention to mitigate the adverse impacts of the pandemic. Findings of the survey show a wide range decrease in the income of rural households in Viet Nam since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, in which non-farming income dropped the most, households in border provinces and poor households were affected more severely. Declining incomes and reverse migrant workers have raised concerns on food and nutrition security for the dependents, and social security network in rural areas. Under the unexpected COVID-19 outbreak, surveyed small farmers and rural households mostly adheres to self-relient measures to cope with negative effects of the pandemic such as reducing spending and using savings rather than other measures like availing of agricultural insurance and social insurance. Nevertheless, the surveyed households were quite optimistic about the future. The households that were planning to increase their production scale outnumbered those who were planning to reduce their production scale, and many rural households planned to have more off-farm jobs in the post COVID-19 time. The research also reveals trends of switching agricultural input suppliers due to input prices increases and interrupted input supplies, diversifying agricultural product consumption channels, and digitalizing agricultural production to cope with pandemic quarantine and hygiene measures. For more pandemic resilient livelihoods, most of respondents are expected to receive government support in forms of financial provisions, preferential loans, tax breaks and exemptions, job creation, agricultural input materials, export market opening, vocational training, and favorable conditions for their production and business.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, agriculture, rural development, small farmers, vulnerable, livelihoods, Viet Nam.


COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Socio-Economic Status, Agriculture, Livelihood, Food Security and Nutrition: Case of Myanmar

Thanda Kyi

The COVID-19 novel coronavirus spread around the world since December 2019. The first official case in Myanmar was reported on March 23rd, 2020 where the first set of containment measures was introduced. In Myanmar, COVID-19 infection rate was low at the 1st wave but at the 2nd wave, confirmed cases increased in the months of August, September and October, 2020 while the 3rd wave came recently on June 2021 where infection rate is at first low, however, it became more serious on July 2021 compared to the previous one. Nowadays, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing an unprecedented challenge to the Government of Myanmar and populations across the country. Myanmar’s agricultural GDP growth forecast for FY2020/21 will be downward to -1.8%. The spread of the COVID-19 is placing huge pressure on health systems but it is also having social and economic impacts on across all sectors including food and agriculture. The Government of Myanmar released the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) on April 28, 2020 to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic which includes monetary reform, increased government spending and strengthening of the health sector. It has 7 goals, 10 strategies, and 36 action plans and 78 actions. Among the action plans in CERP, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) had to take responsibilities in implementing the support for farmers, seed producers, agri-processors and owners of agri-businesses. In the crop production sector, the likely disruption of input supplies for the planting season may lead to seasonal and long-term food shortages and income losses, compromising purchasing power and access to healthy diets. Wage decreases and livelihood loss could deepen poverty, push households to resort to negative coping strategies, and compromise their resilience to any further shocks such as floods and droughts. Given the importance of nutrition security, a sustainable food systems approach is also advocated especially with a focus on climate resilient sustainable agriculture practices that ensure food security of the small farmers. Measures like crop diversification and efficient nutrition management are some of the interventions in this respect. There is a need for building resilience of supply chains by increasing food production capacity, strengthening food reserves in the country, as well as improving national food logistics systems. There is also a need to emphasize sound policies and programs that focus on resilient food systems and nutrition-sensitive food diversification. Promoting sustainable and resilient food systems approaches will deliver food security and nutrition while building resilience to shocks and maintaining the economic, social and environmental basis to generate food security and nutrition which are important for rural and urban poor in the country.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, food security, nutrition, poverty, livelihood, agriculture


COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on Japan’s Food Industry

Yoshihisa Godo

Japan’s food industry relies on foreigners in two ways. First, foreign tourists’ demands for Japanese foods have been increasing. Second, Japan’s new policy for accepting foreign workers is mitigating the labor shortage in the food industry. However, COVID-19 caused a suspension of cross-border movements and made the international community more aware of the possible emergence of new viruses. Thus, restrictions on cross-border movements will continue even after the eradication of COVID-19. Therefore, Japan’s food industry must find a new strategy for stimulating food demands and mitigating labor shortage.

Keywords: inbound tourism, labor shortage, Tokyo Olympic Games, technical intern trainee, specified skilled worker, disguised student


COVID-19 – Impact on the Pork Sector in Germany

Johannes Simons, Dirk Lenders

The adaptation of slaughtering and meat cutting processes to the COVID-19 risk situation resulted in an estimated capacity reduction of 15% compared to the pre-coronavirus period. As a consequence, a bottleneck effect occurred in the pig meat value chain. Reducing imports of live animals and increasing exports could decrease, but not eliminate the resulting surplus of live pigs. At the end of 2020, the number of pigs waiting to be slaughtered was estimated at approximately one million and due to this surplus German standard quality pig prices dropped by roughly 12%. Moreover, farmers faced price cuts as a result of pigs being overweight, additional feeding costs from pigs remaining on farms, and foregone profits because stables could not be used for further production. The COVID-19 effects were accompanied by the outbreak of African swine fever in Germany and subsequent export restrictions. This led to an additional price cut of 13% and aggravated the situation of German producers of fattened pigs and piglets. A short-term adjustment of production quantities to prices has not been possible, as present supply is determined by the sow insemination a year ago. As a result, it will take until mid-late 2021 before low prices lead to lower supply. In the first quarter of 2021, the situation on the German slaughter pig market relaxed. Average prices for fattened pigs, slaughter-weight as well as piglet prices approached the long-term average again. To reduce the impact of future crises on the meat sector, it is necessary to develop contingency plans that take into account the high interdependency among the individual stages of the value chain.

Keywords: COVID-19, Slaughterhouse Sector, Pork Value Chain.