Responding to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on food value chains through efficient logistics
Nepal is an agricultural country where 66 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture facing with several challenges like droughts, famines, torrential rain, landslide, and some manmade disasters too. In the meantime the country has to fight with the COVID 19 likely the other countries. However, the country has taken some measures towards minimising the effects of the disease through efficient logistics on food value chains. Transportation and movement of the people has not been normalised resulting to irregular and insufficient catering of food. Therefore, realising existing situation and future predicament of the country government has taken policy of supplying the food regularly without possibilities of shortages across the country. Thus some of the measures that the government has taken for food value chain with the supports of efficient logistics have been mentioned briefly as follows:
- Buffer stock of foods: It has been highly prioritized in food security of the country with establishment of additional food procurement stores in some main parts of the country followed by introducing the concept of food bank targeting to the COVID 19. It has been targeted to make availability of the foods round the year with provision of buffer stock through the terminal market (Food Corporation) of the country. The food corporation purchases the food from the farmers immediately after harvesting and sells out to the whole sellers / retailers of the food. In the meantime the government has targeted to increase the production of all the crops of the country like rice, maize, and wheat followed by other cereals, pulses, vegetables and livestock products.
- Supply of inputs: To meet the target of production of the food arrangement of inputs like fertilizers, irrigation, credit facilities, labour, and insurance of the crops and livestock has been emphasized in the country.
- Marketing of the agricultural products: It has been arranged the distribution system of the agricultural products through a channel of marketing like from producer to wholesaler and retailer to consumer. Accordingly, pricing policy of the products exists in the country where minimum support price of the main products is fixed before plantation of the crops.
- Rationing of food: The government at different levels from federal to local level have been involved in rationing of the food to the ultra poor and to the others who are unable to purchase the food from the market.
- Involvement of private sector: Some of the corporate houses, business men and individuals too are donating raw food as well as cooked food in edible form in many places of the country.
- Home delivery of food: Accordingly, home delivery system of the food like rice, pulses, cooking oil, spices, livestock products, green or dry vegetables and fruits has been expanded from the trading partners.
- Maintaining quality of food: Normally, quality of the food is not considered at the time of crisis rather than quantity since everyone’s target is to meet hunger. However, it has been asked to the concerning departments / sectors to maintain the quality of the food even supplying through different channels.
Mr. Dhananjaya Poudyal