From cardamom to coffee, potatoes to pulses, tea to turmeric and pepper to poultry items, the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have affected the commodities supply chain.
These commodities were affected to some extent during the first wave last year but then, the rural areas were mostly untouched. But this time around, people in the rural areas also have been affected, throwing spanner in the works of the commodities supply chain.
“The concern this year is rural areas are witnessing Covid cases unlike last year,” said Giriraj Singhania, Managing Director of Raipur-based Shivalik Engineering Industries Ltd. His firm supplies components to tractor and automobile firms.
The biggest challenge with regard to commodities is the supply-chain bottlenecks that had affected exports of plantation commodities last year.
“We fear that this issue will get further aggravated in the second wave of Covid,” said Prashant Bhansali, President of United Planters’ Association of Southern India (Upasi).
Among the first to feel the effect of the second wave of Covid have been commodities such as cardamom, pepper and poultry items.
“Poultry meat was the first to be affected as many States announced shutdowns during Sundays and weekends. Typically, Sunday sales of broiler meat is equal to the sales on the other six days of the week, put together” said a Chennai-based broiler meat supplier to retail units.
Tough period ahead
The situation is set to get more grim with many States starting from Tamil Nadu to Punjab joining other States announcing various lockdown measures since last week.
“The situation is better than last year with regard to transportation. Last year, transportation, too, came to a halt. This year, that is not happening. So, products can go from one State to the other or from one city to another,” said Ashish Guru, Senior Vice-President, Federation of Cold Storage Association of India (FCSAI).
Vijay Setia, former president of All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) and a rice exporter, said that people have been managing till now and any effect has been “insignificant.
But there are others who are concerned over the movements due to lockdowns. The poultry sector, in particular, is irked that restrictions on people’s and vehicular movements in different States and overall negative sentiment have impacted the industry in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telangana.
Lockdowns and night curfews in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana besides various other States have disrupted the supply chain network of various commodities, including poultry products, limiting suppliers’ ability to transport consignments particularly up North from the South..
“The window for movement in Maharashtra is just between 8 am to 11 am. You can’t transport the goods in the night,” N Prakash, owner of an egg business, told Business…