China, the pandemic’s first epicentre is home to the largest number of coronavirus casesi.e. 82,830, and deaths, 4633, in 2020 to date. The very fact that China is amongst the largest markets for food & beverage business for many countries places the global food industry in a vulnerable situation.
The differential impact of this rapid spreading COVID-19 on Global food & beverage industry &each stage of its value chain can be calibrated on the lines of the affected workforce at industrial level, staple food supply (agricultural produce, food ingredients, intermediate food products), trade & logistics, demand-supply volatility and variable consumer demand at foodservice outlets— among other factors. Production, distribution, and inventory levels across the food & beverage industry spectrum are expected to be impacted largely with this corona crisis.
In the wake of COVID-19, workforce can potentially influence the business plans and restrain the industrial production of food & beverage products. Beyond having exceptional forecasting tools, agile distribution capacity, and a reliable transportation infrastructure; the foremost critical element in timely order fulfilment is keeping reliable and skilled labor for efficient production and shipping. The workforce employed in agricultural farms, food & beverage production & processing plants, and distribution network are anticipated to run the risk of transmission which might occur during various activities of co-ordination.
For the trade occurring between geographies and different stages of the supply chain, there is also a potential risk of spreading the virus through mediums of product outputs, causing food safety concerns, this in turn has spiked the labour shortage.
The corporate workforces, owing to its constant exposure to different stakeholders in the industry, interaction with potentially affected public also bear a potential risk of virus contraction. Travel bans imposed by several countries are yet another contributing factor, hindering the availability of critical personnel required in key decision-making.
Industrial Raw material: Agricultural food supply
Agricultural produce, which forms the key staple for subsequent stages in the food value chain, can become a potential source of bottleneck for the food & beverage industry. The agri-based commodities may endure a possible impediment of production and supply on account of labour shortage and poor logistics due to traffic control and restrictions on public movement. Agriculture is seeing the impact of COVID19 at multiple stages. India is no exception to this and a slew of measures are being taken by the Central and State governments to stem the spread of this deadly virus. The nationwide lock-down, if persists without any adequate mitigation efforts will inevitably impede the mobility of different food commodities.
India is on the verge of harvesting an abundant rabi crop in the coming months. In the situation, the closure of several mandis and hiccups in the mobility of goods will have a significant impact on farmers’ realisation, especially small and marginal farmers who can’t hold the produce for a longer time. As declared by the Ministry of Agriculture, supply of the food and Agri produce will also be subdued in the coming seasons due to low sowing of the upcoming seasonal crops.
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