The Centre for Trade Policy and Development has called on the Government to give clear COVID-19 guidelines for the 2020 agricultural marketing season particularly in rural areas.
CTPD Senior Researcher Dr Simon Manda has observed that the current policy direction by Government to the COVID-19 crisis is inadequate in as far as providing a good framework for the fast approaching agriculture marketing season.
Dr Manda said the continued restrictions on social and economic activities risk causing widespread vulnerabilities especially for rural producers who face storage challenges and require quick access to markets.
He said it is a well-known fact that rural producers face diverse challenges such as poor storage, limited access to markets coupled with unclear agriculture marketing guidelines which often lead to serious delays in taking farmer’s produce to the markets eventually leading to sharp drops in commodity supply and price hikes.
Dr Manda said a prudent but cautious approach to agriculture marketing which considers the local context in the country can be advanced with clear marketing guidelines as the Government continues to fight the COVID-19 virus.
He warned that any delays to create COVID-19 agriculture marketing related guidelines might create social and economic problems probably much bigger than COVID-19 itself.
Dr Manda said in the current crisis, supporting broad based livelihoods will be crucial given that social protection is minimal.