Economic impact of the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown on Indian farmers

Niharika Pandya, Divya Veluguri, Aditi Roy, Poornima Prabhakaran, Lindsay Jaacks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Nearly one in two Indian citizens are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods [1]. This is not just income from cultivation, but also wages from agricultural labour. A National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) survey conducted in 2016-17 found that about one-third of agricultural household income comes from wages [2]. The initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, in early 2020, and the public health response (e.g., a strictly enforced, national lockdown) severely disrupted wage labour.

Our objective was to describe the financial impact from farmers’ perspective. First, we describe changes in income from wages and livestock for farmers over the course of the pandemic. Then, we explore how farmers have mitigated the financial downturn through (1) receipt of government cash transfers and (2) sale of assets. Finally, we explore how uptake of loans has changed during the pandemic as compared to 2019.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomic and Political Weekly
Issue number50
Early online date11 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2021


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