Impact of COVID-19 on the Global Okra Seeds Market
The advent of the global pandemic, COVID-19, has resulted in a global crisis. The pandemic has impacted the agricultural supply chain, as many countries are under lockdown and have sealed their borders to curb the spread of the virus. The production and consumption of crops have been impacted by the pandemic.
Okra, commonly known as ladies’ fingers, is an important vegetable crop grown in tropical and subtropical regions. The major okra producing countries are India, Nigeria, Sudan, and Iraq. India is the largest producer of okra and has the highest consumption of okra seeds, accounting for almost 72% of the world’s okra production. However, due to the lockdown situation, rural India has been highly affected, which has also caused significant damage to the agriculture industry. As all the shops in the village except the local provision stores are closed, the farmers face difficulties in buying seeds for sowing okra. The summer season is the best time to grow okra, and as the season is being hampered by the pandemic, the okra seed market is expected to take a severe hit. Additionally, strict containment measures imposed by governments of various states in the country and preventive measures to control the impact of the outbreak have led to a significant restriction in transportation, impacting the inter-state movement of okra seeds in India.
This trend is expected to continue owing to the uncertainty in the global market and measures to address the supply/demand imbalance. As of the beginning of May 2020, more than four million confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported globally, and more than 284 thousand deaths were reported due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
With countries across the world locking down their borders, there have been minimum export-import movements, which has disrupted the logistics industry. Nationwide lockdowns and trade restrictions are expected to have a significant impact on European countries and the US, which are highly dependent on the import of okra from India to meet the domestic demand. Countries are witnessing disruptions in its supply chain owing to poor logistics due to traffic control and restrictions on free movement. Thus, the manufacturers of vegetable seeds are facing a huge challenge in reaching the farmers, resulting in a huge demand-supply gap in the global okra seed market.
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