Food industry hit by production, supply disruption, due to Corona pandemic

India's food processing industry has been hit hard by the country's national lockdown, with most factories closed and their supply chains disrupted, leading to distribution effectively being suspended nationwide.

food-industry-hit-by-production-due-to-corona-pandemic
 
India's food processing industry has been hit hard by the country's national lockdown, with most factories closed and their supply chains disrupted, leading to distribution effectively being suspended nationwide. Food manufacturers do not have an automatic right to stay open but have had to apply for specific exemptions from state, municipal, and national regulators.
 
And while many manufacturers of processed foods have lodged such applications with regulators, bureaucratic procedures are causing long delays. Even if the red tape is cleared, food manufacturers face an even bigger hurdle - the unavailability of labour as hundreds of thousands of workers left Indian cities and major industrial centres for their ancestral family homes, often in villages, to sit out the lockdown. A lack of earnings and scarcity of food supplies during the lockdown were the main reasons for many moving.
 
Further, according to a senior official at the Confederation of Indian Food Trade & Industry (CIFTI), even workers with families that live near plants are not reporting to duty due to a lack of public transport facilities. Also, the government's instruction that companies should pay full wages to all workers during lockdown has eroded the incentive for them to work - even though that order is not legally enforceable.
 
Many entrepreneurs had foreseen the lockdown and had started preparations from February itself by stocking up inventory. Food imports into India have also come under pressure, according to Amit Lohani, founder-director of the Forum of Indian Food Importers, whose 5,000 members trade in billions of dollars' worth products like confectionery, dairy products, and meat.
 
To add to the problems, trucks were also not operating, with many hauliers simply stopping driving after the announcement of the lockdown. This damaged all products requiring refrigeration, Lohani said.
 
Photo Courtesy: USAID
 

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