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Christian Elleby, Ignacio Pérez Domínguez, Marcel Adenauer & Giampiero Genovese 

Environmental and Resource Economics volume 76, pages1067–1079(2020)

Abstract

This paper analyses the impacts on global agricultural markets of the demand shock caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the first wave of lockdown measures imposed by the governments in the first semester of 2020 to contain it. Specifically, we perform a scenario-based analysis on the IMF economic growth forecasts for 2020 and 2021 using a global multi-commodity agricultural market model. According to our results, the sharp decline in economic growth causes a decrease in international meat prices by 7–18% in 2020 and dairy products by 4–7% compared to a business as usual situation. Following the slowdown of the economy, biofuel prices fall strongly in 2020, followed by their main feedstocks, maize and oilseeds. Although the income losses and local supply chain disruptions associated with the pandemic undoubtedly has led to an increase in food insecurity in many developing countries, global food consumption is largely unaffected due to the inelastic demand of most agricultural commodities and the short duration of the shock. From an environmental viewpoint, the COVID-19 impacts point to a modest reduction of direct greenhouse gases from agriculture of about 1% or 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2020 and 2021.

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to the loss of more than 500 thousand lives out of 10.3 million confirmed cases (as of June 30, 2020), has also caused a global downturn comparable, by some measures, to that of the great depression in the 1930s. The causes of the two economic crises are, however, very different and it is also believed that the recovery from the current crisis will be faster than the recovery from the great depression.

There is still a lot of uncertainty though, as to how long the COVID-19 recession will last and what the global economic consequences will be in the medium term. It depends on a number of factors affecting supply and demand of all good including agricultural commodities. These include, how quickly businesses around the world will be able to re-open from the lockdowns; whether there will be secondary waves forcing governments to impose new lockdown measures; how soon a vaccine and/or an effective treatment against the SARS-CoV-2 virus is available and how all this affect consumer spending patterns. Nonetheless, there are already several global economic outlooks that account for the COVID-19 impact in their GDP projections. The IMF, World Bank and OECD forecasts for the global GDP contraction in 2020 are in the range 3.0–7.5% and the forecasts for the ensuing global GDP increase in 2021 range from 2.8 to 5.8% (World Bank 2020; IMF 2020; OECD 2020a). Building on the IMF forecast, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) estimates that the economic contraction in 2020 could increase the number of people living in extreme poverty by a staggering 20% or 140 million people, which will result in a heightened level of food insecurity in many countries (Laborde et al. 2020).

In this paper, we add to the growing literature on the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with an analysis of the impacts on the global agricultural commodity markets. The pandemic has reminded us just how dependent we are on a well-functioning global food value chain and how vulnerable we are to disruptions in this key sector. A sudden lack of mobility across borders and within countries has caused labour shortages in countries that are reliant on seasonal migrant workers in the agri-food sector, which, in turn, has affected food availability and prices globally (FAO 2020). In India and in several African countries, for example, the price of several key staples have reportedly increased by more than 15% as from pre-COVID-19 levels (Hernandez et al. 2020).

The pandemic has also affected trade of goods through e.g. additional border controls, lack of cargo shipments and reinforced sanitary controls. Moreover, similar to the 2007–2008 food crisis, the pandemic led some countries to impose export restrictions in order to protect their domestic consumers (WTO 2020). Such trade frictions could also affect global food prices.

Due to the lack of data, we do not consider these supply-side disruptions to the agri-food sector in this paper. Instead, we focus on the demand shock caused by a general loss of income affecting consumers’ spending patterns. The resulting lower demand obviously leads to a downward pressure on producer prices and production, but it is not clear, a priori, how large the effect will be in the different interdependent agricultural sectors. The meat sector, for example, is directly affected by lower demand for meat products resulting from lower incomes and by substitution towards cheaper (plant based) sources of calories. However, lower demand for grain and oilseeds also reduces feed costs, so the size of the net effect on production and prices is unclear.

In our discussion of the COVID-19 impacts, we have a particular focus on the biofuel markets. These markets have been especially affected by the pandemic because, of the lockdowns in many countries, which have driven down the demand for transport fuel. Moreover, the resulting fall in international oil prices has made biofuels less competitive with fossil fuels. Lower demand for biofuels affects the demand for its feedstocks, maize and oilseeds, which, in turn, affect the markets for other crops and animal products.

One positive side-effect of the drop in consumption of fuel and the general disruption of economic activity in connection with the pandemic, is a significant decrease in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Le Quéré et al. 2020; Rugani and Caro 2020). For many years, the ‘degrowth’, movement has been arguing for the need to reduce consumption in order to reduce the ecological footprint of human activities (Georgescu-Roegen 1977; Kerschner 2010). More recently, in connection with the adoption of the Paris agreement in 2015, governments around the world have committed to reducing their GHG emissions through national policies in order to limit the global temperature increase to well below 2 °C (Schleussner et al. 2016). In the EU, specifically, the European Commission (EC) launched its ‘Green Deal’ in 2019, which aims to have zero net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use.

The agricultural sector is an important contributor to global GHG emissions and the sector, therefore, faces a societal pressure to reduce its climate impact (IPCC 2019; Schiermeier 2019; Wollenberg et al. 2016). In the EU, the EC put forward its legal proposal in 2018 for the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period 2021–2027. The proposal introduces a new programming tool call national ‘Strategic Plans’, giving the Member States more freedom to choose and implement policies that can meet the objectives of the future CAP, one of which is ‘climate change action’. These Strategic Plans must reflect the ambition of the Green Deal and are assessed against climate and environmental criteria. In the proposed budget for the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, 25% of the Direct Payments Budget is allocated to Eco–Schemes, 30% of the Rural Development funds are allocated to Agro-environmental and Climate Measures and Voluntary Coupled Support is maximized including the additional 2% of Pillar I for protein crops.

In late May, the EC presented its COVID-19 recovery package containing a reinforced EU budget for 2021–2027 as well as a Recovery Instrument called ‘Next Generation EU’, which will allow the EC to borrow up to EUR 750 billion on the financial markets. Included in this is a proposal to increase funding for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development by EUR 15 billion and to strengthen the Just Transition Fund up to EUR 40 billion in order to accelerate the transition towards climate neutrality and to support the changes required to achieve the targets in the Green Deal.

In light of these requirements for the agricultural and other sectors to reduce their climate footprint, and the considerable effort it takes to make this happen, it is interesting to see how the pandemic affects agricultural GHG emissions. We therefore quantify the COVID-19 impact on GHG emissions associated with the agricultural production changes.

Methodology

The Model

The scenario analysis in this paper is based on a set of simulations carried out with the Aglink-Cosimo model. Aglink-Cosimo is a recursive-dynamic partial equilibrium model developed and maintained by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretariat and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as a collaborative effort (OECD 2015; Araujo-Enciso et al. 2015). The model is used to produce the OECD-FAO and EU Medium Term Agricultural Outlooks, yearly publications aiming to provide baseline projections for the main agricultural commodities over the medium term (OECD-FAO 2019; EC 2019). These deterministic baseline projections are accompanied by a partial stochastic analysis that considers yields, international oil prices and several macroeconomic variables as stochastic variables (Araujo-Enciso et al. 2017).

Scenario Design and Main Assumptions

We analyse a single scenario based on country specific GDP growth forecasts from the IMF World Economic Outlook database (April 2020), supplemented with EU figures from the Spring 2020 Economic Forecast by the European Commission. The scenario shocks are the forecasted GDP growth rates for 2020 and 2021, applied to 2020 GDP baseline and implied scenario value for 2021, respectively. From 2022 and onwards, we assume that the GDPs return to their baseline values. Fig. 1 illustrates the difference in baseline and scenario GDP values. The baseline is the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2019–2028 (OECD-FAO 2019; OECD 2020b) extended to 2030.

In addition to the scenario impacts, expressed as a set of point estimates, we also carry out a stochastic analysis focused on the relationship between international oil prices and agricultural commodity markets. Agricultural and energy markets are interrelated mainly through the production of biofuels (mandated largely) and input costs (e.g. fertiliser costs). Currently we are facing a period of low oil prices, due to a combination of supply and demand factors. However, as discussed below, international oil prices are exogenous in the model and we have not made any assumptions about their deviation from the baseline in order to keep a strict focus on the demand effects of COVID-19. Instead, we quantify the joint distribution of scenario impacts, where the variation comes from alternative oil price projections, based on the historical variation in oil prices.

Results

Global Impacts

In 2020, prices of agricultural commodities and derived products decrease sharply, especially biofuels, meats and vegetable oils. In 2021, the prices are still below their baseline value except for some of the meats (pork and sheep). In 2022 the picture is more mixed, with grains and biofuels being above the baseline and others still below. When we reach 2025, all of the commodity prices are close to their baseline values and, as illustrated in Fig. 2, this continues to be the case until the end of the projection period in 2030.

Regional Impacts

Domestic markets are related to the world market through trade. Therefore, a price increase on the world market will typically cause an increase in the domestic price as well.

As can be seen, the domestic price impacts follow the same patterns as the world prices, with the largest impacts to be found amongst the meats and dairy products, biofuels and biofuel feedstocks. Note, however, that the variation in the impacts caused by oil price volatility is much higher than in the world price case, especially for the biofuels case. More on this below.

Energy Price Uncertainty

As Fig. 3 illustrates, transport fuel demand (incl. biofuels) reacts to changes in GDP, and fuel prices. In the three major biofuel producers US, EU and Brazil, for example, the GDP shocks lead to 4–8% lower gasoline and diesel consumption in 2020, as compared to the baseline, which, in turn, affects demand for biofuels through the blending requirements. Domestic prices of conventional fuels (gasoline and diesel), however, depends only on taxes and the exogenous world market price of oil. Therefore, in light of the recent oil price volatility, it is interesting to see how oil price volatility affects the results.

Percentage difference from the baselineFigure 4 illustrate how the world prices of grains and biofuels in the scenario are affected by variability in the international price of oil. Maize is a feedstock for ethanol production, so it is especially affected by oil price variability. Similarly, vegetable oil (not shown) is the major feedstock for biodiesel, so its price is also sensitive to oil price volatility.

Fig. 4:World prices of grain and biofuels in the baseline and scenario. The grey bands represent uncertainty arising from variation in international oil prices

The column labelled ‘Band  %’ in Tables 1, 2, 3 and 4 summarises how energy price volatility affect world market prices of agricultural commodities. Not surprisingly, the largest differences are for biofuels and their feedstocks (maize, oilseeds and vegetable oils). Biodiesel is the commodity that is most affected by oil prices and its 95% band in Table 1 in is equivalent to 22% of the scenario value in 2030. That is, high and low oil prices can lead to biodiesel prices that are 11% higher or lower than the one we observe in the scenario, based on the oil prices in the baseline, discarding the most extreme simulations from the upper and lower tails of the distributions. Similarly, the last column of Table 2 summarises the effects of oil price volatility on world production. Not surprisingly, the commodities with the highest dependence on oil price volatility are the same ones as in Table 1, namely the biofuels and their feedstocks (maize and oilseeds). Comparing the price bands in Tables 3 and 4 with those in Table 1, shows that the domestic price of biofuels are much more sensitive to international oil prices than their world price counterparts. This is due to biofuel policies that exists in several countries.

Impacts on GHG Emissions

Figure 5 illustrates the estimated impact on the annual direct GHG emission from agriculture (in CO2 equivalents) resulting from the production changes.Footnote8 As one would expect, in light of the modest production changes (Table 1), the emission impacts are also modest. According to the model, the reduction in global GHG emissions in 2020–2022 are 0.2, 1.1 and 1.0%, respectively, relative to the baseline. For some of the large agricultural producers such as USA, Brazil and China, however, the reduction is larger. For China and USA, in particular, the total reduction amounts to around 2.3% in 2022 and the reduction in emissions from animal production is above 3% in 2022 for China. The lagged effects illustrate that it takes several years for the livestock sector to adjust to a demand shock.

Fig. 5:GHG emission from agricultural production. Percentage difference from the baseline

In Fig. 6 the reduction in agricultural GHG emissions, corresponding to the percentage changes in Fig. 5, is broken down into their constituent parts, namely methane (CH4) emissions from enteric fermentation and nitrous oxide (N2O) and CH4 from manure. Most of the GHG reductions come from CH4 emission associated with ruminant production. In absolute terms, these changes correspond to more than 50 Mt of CO2 equivalents in 2020 and 2021.

Fig. 6:GHG emission from agricultural production. Difference from the baseline

Conclusions

Agricultural markets are, like all other sectors, affected by the large drop in consumer spending brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are already several global outlooks projecting the effects on GDP growth and other macro variables. The contribution of this paper is a quantification of the resulting impacts on the global agricultural markets and on the GHG emissions resulting from agricultural production.

Our analysis shows that the economic recession exerts downward pressure on prices, especially for high-value added commodities such as meat products and dairy. The most affected commodities are, however, biofuels and to some extent their feedstocks (e.g. maize in the US and rapeseed in Europe). Demand for these commodities is strongly linked to the demand for transport fuel, but it is also sensitive to changes in the oil price, which affects their competitiveness.

Food consumption is generally quite inelastic and it takes several years for production to adjust fully to a price change, so the GDP shocks only have a modest impact on global production and consumption. The commodities whose production change the most are the high value added products such as meat and dairy, as well as biofuels.

The modest global production changes resulting from the COVID-19 demand shock implies that the effect on global GHG emissions is also modest, around 1% in 2020–2021. However, for some of the large producers the emission reductions, especially from animal production, are in the order of 2–3%. In absolute terms, these changes correspond to around 50 Mt of CO2 equivalents in 2020 and 2021. From a climate policy perspective, the modest impacts on agricultural GHG emissions might seem disappointing. However, it is important to bear in mind that the scenario we consider does not include the effect of the European Green Deal or any other policies that were not implemented in 2019. Such policies that affect production and consumption incentives in the long-term, have the potential for an impact that is much greater than a (hopefully) short-term disruption like the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are several caveats to this analysis that ought to be mentioned. First, the analysis would benefit from a careful consideration of the disruptions to the supply chain brought on by the pandemic, which, reportedly, has resulted in food price increases in many countries. Although we do not model this, it is clear that a scenario with negative production/supply shocks and a reduction in exports by the main grain exporters, in addition to the negative GDP shocks, would lead to less negative price changes and it is possible that there would be price increases as well. An increase in the price of food in a situation where incomes are falling is obviously a major problem for low-income net consumers of food. For this reason, it is crucial to have reliable, quantifiable information about the magnitude of the supply disruptions caused by the pandemic, but the creation of such a database is beyond the scope of this paper.

Another improvement to the paper would be to consider several different GDP projections depending on whether additional infection waves occur in different countries. Finally, we could broaden the stochastic analysis to include macro variables and yields in order to account more fully for the uncertainty inherent in the results. We leave these refinements to future work.

Notes

1.The exact causes of these price changes are unclear at this point.

2.COM(2019) 640 final.

3.COM(2018) 392; COM(2018) 393; and COM(2018) 394.

4.SWD(2020) 93 final.

5.This 30% does not include payments for Areas with Natural Constraints.

6.COM/2020/442 final; COM/2020/456 final. See also Verwey, Langedijk, & Kuenzel (2020)

7.Alternatively, we could have assumed that GDPs will follow a path parallel to their baseline values from 2022 and onwards, such that they remain below the baseline throughout the entire outlook period. Another option would be to let the GDPs converge gradually towards the baseline value at the end of the projection period. A priori, it is not obvious, which of these approaches that is the most appropriate, so we decided to go with the simplest of these for this paper.

8.Note that the emission impacts from changes to transport fuel consumption are not included in these figures.

References

Araujo-Enciso SR, Perez Dominguez I, Santini F, Helaine S (2015). Documentation of the European Comission’s EU module of the Aglink-Cosimo modelling system. Tech. rep., Joint Research Centre (Seville site)

Araujo-Enciso R, Pieralli S, Perez Dominguez I (2017) Partial Stochastic Analysis with the Aglink-Cosimo Model: A Methodological Overview. Tech. rep., Joint Research Centre (Sevillesite).Accessed from http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC108837 EC (2019)

EU agricultural outlook for markets and income, 2019–2030. European Commission, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, Brussels

FAO (2020) Migrant workers and the COVID-19 pandemic. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

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Hernandez M, Kim S, Rice B, Vos R (2020) IFPRI’s new COVID-19 Food Price Monitor tracks warning signs of stress in local markets. International Food Policy Research Institute. Accessed from https://www.ifpri.org/blog/ifpris-new-covid-19-food-price-monitor-tracks-warning-signs-stress-local-markets

IMF (2020) World economic outlook, April 2020: the great lockdown. International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC

IPCC (2019) Climate Change and Land: anIPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. In: Shukla PR, Skea J, Buendia EC, Masson-Delmotte V, Pörtner H-O, Roberts DC,… Malley J, (eds) In press

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Author information

Affiliations

European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Seville, Spain Christian Elleby, Ignacio Pérez Domínguez & Giampiero Genovese

Agro-Food Trade and Markets Division, OECD, Paris, France Marcel Adenauer

1. Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in immediate, serious, and worldwide human health issues. Necessary counter measures to the virus, e.g. quarantines and other restrictions, will remain in place for many months and have uncertain end dates. International efforts to control the virus by limiting human movement is inevitably causing economic shocks and social costs that will affect the functioning of agricultural and food systems worldwide.

We are already witnessing the indirect effects of the pandemic on agricultural systems across the globe. Massively decreased demand for restaurant and commercial food services in combination with restrictions in labour, processing capacity and/or storage has led to farmers discarding their output en masse. Quarantine measures are severely affecting labour availability for key time-critical farming from sowing vegetable crops to picking fruit. As the crisis develops, these impacts are likely to become more widely and deeply felt in agricultural sectors and national economies.

The significance and severity of the pandemic, and its likely impact on agriculture worldwide, calls for substantial reflection in both the short- and long-term. We need to understand the immediate consequences for the global network of agricultural and food systems on which we rely so heavily. We should track unexpected risks, weaknesses and systemic shifts to understand short-term effects as well as those that may be long-lasting or permanent.

2. Immediate impacts

From the vantage point of the Editorial team, we have identified several dimensions of concern with respect to COVID-19 and agricultural systems - although this list is early and limited and so is inevitably incomplete.

2.1. Food security

Of immediate concern is the disruption to food systems and impact on food security (Torero, 2020). Food distribution channels of almost all countries across the income spectrum have been highly disrupted, with strong negative consequences for the most vulnerable. There is widespread media coverage of sudden decreases in food security due to:

  • loss of income from workers who are fully or partially furloughed affecting their ability to purchase food;
  • stay-at-home orders and restricted physical access to food markets and/or indigenous food gathering activities; closure or diminished capacity of institutions that support food social safety nets, such as food banks and school feeding programs; and
  • market disruptions such as issues with the ability of supermarkets to rapidly restock from centralised distribution systems following unprecedented demand (i.e. panic buying) for pantry staples.
  • wastage of fresh vegetables, fruits and milk due to inability by farmers or entrepreneurs to transport them from point of production to local markets or supermarkets in nearby towns or cities.

How will these shocks ripple outwards to affect broader agricultural systems? What are the likely effects on subsistence systems where farmers and households, that are already food insecure, have less resilience against such large disruptions? How will the international, national and local market disruptions to consumption affect larger scale commercial farm systems, as they contend with volatile market signals and disrupted supply chains?

Will these disruptions be temporary? Or will these sudden negative shocks to food security cause permanent changes in food systems? How will this impact producers, agricultural and food systems in different sectors, industries, regions and economic circumstances?

2.2. Labour availability

A second emerging issue concerns labour availability in the agri-food sector. Labour has been suddenly restricted in many regions due to quarantine measures and loss of workforce from COVID-19 deaths and serious illness. There have been substantial restrictions on international labour movements and worker programs that are critical to agricultural production in some sectors or that have caused bottlenecks. Anecdotally, this seems particularly severe in horticulture, livestock production systems, and processing but also for planting and harvesting of crops that are relatively labour-intensive. The timing of labour needs is often inflexible for seasonally produced foods. Resolving these labour shortages and designing working conditions that are safe for workers and the community, is of critical importance in order to secure future growing seasons and avoid disastrous consequences for future food security and supply.

If COVID-19 is not contained, implying that free and safe movement of agri-food workers will not be attainable for the foreseeable future, how will our agricultural and food systems cope with this loss? Will emergency measures, such as recruiting temporary domestic volunteers or chartering special flights and paying workers during quarantines be sufficient? Can we make workers safer given that many are in dormitory style housing and/or work on assembly lines that are incompatible with maintaining physical distancing? If workers cannot be safe, and be perceived to be so, while the virus is circulating in the community, what will the effects on food systems be? Can all regions fill their labour shortages sufficiently? What different approaches to this problem might there be? Will there be major and permanent changes in international agri-food labour availability and movements and, if so, how might agricultural systems adapt?

2.3. Farm system resilience

A third clear domain of concern is farm system resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic. Which systems are resilient, and which are not? Are small farms, that primarily use family labour and so are less dependent on externally hired labour, more resilient than large farms which depend on external labour? What technological measures could to be adopted to reduce dependency on human labour and gain efficiency in farming? What are the short- and long-term consequences of unequal access to resilience tools and measures? How will local, regional, national and international agricultural systems respond to large losses of agricultural production during the pandemic? Which countermeasures against the virus will have very long-term effects? How can we reorient our agricultural systems to function optimally in a post-COVID-19 world? What is the role of agricultural policy in boosting resilience of agricultural systems? Do our policies need to change going forward or are we already well equipped to safeguard our agricultural systems from similar shocks in the future? What does the COVID-19 pandemic reveal about the overall functioning of our agricultural systems?

2.4. Agricultural system connectivity

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on international relationships far beyond the agri-food sector's labour force. This includes announcements of export restrictions across several countries that limit global agri-food trade and market access (see for example Laborde and IFPRI, 2020). The agri-food sector is highly connected internationally. Ports that shut down or reduce activity, vastly reduced freight capacity on commercial flights for agricultural goods, and other broad global supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 crisis (Ivanov, 2020) have the potential to limit critical access to agricultural inputs and markets. This may negatively impact agricultural productivity for current and future seasons. The suddenness and severity of these shutdowns leave little scope for identifying suitable domestic substitutes in the short term but may spur less reliance on global agri-food value chains in the future. Some nations are also exploring more domestic ‘food sovereignty’ in order to address emerging domestic food security concerns due to COVID-19. These actions have serious implications for our current globalized agri-food trading system and is potentially one of the most important impacts on the current food system.

2.5. Other impacts and questions

Other myriad unanswered questions include understanding the impacts and consequences of:

  • wholesale shifts in market prices and the relative value of agricultural outputs on our agricultural management choices;
  • new competition for critical inputs, especially water, due to increasing emphasis on public health and sanitation systems;
  • impacts of supply chain and processing disruptions on animal welfare;
  • existing economic inequality and relative resilience of agricultural systems, as well as other social network systems reliant on agricultural income generation and stability;
  • the compound effects of so many human system shocks and the behaviour of the natural capital systems that support agriculture overall; and
  • disruptions to research and monitoring programmes, perhaps particularly to those of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows that face time limitations.
  • How will COVID-19 impact progress towards the SDGs?

3. Capturing and learning from these effects

We, the Editorial team of Agricultural Systems, believe that it is important to capture the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural and food systems in their broadest senses. Thus, we are launching a fast-track Special Issue on existing and potential impacts of COVID-19 on agricultural and food systems, calling on our readership, which is well placed around the world, to submit manuscripts describing already-observed outcomes and impacts. The link to the full call follows. We hope this will improve our collective understanding of the many short and long term challenges posed by COVID-19 by broad contributions from the agricultural systems research community. Articles in this Special Issue will be profiled under Elsevier's (2020) COVID-19 response.

Call for submissions link: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/agricultural-systems/call-for-papers/immediate-impacts-of-covid-19-on-agricultural-and-food-syste

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  1. Elsevier Novel Coronavirus Resource Directory. 2020. https://www.elsevier.com/novel-coronavirus-covid-19; verified 29 April 2020.
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Key concerns to the seed treatment industry include the potential impact that seed colorants have on plant germination and growth, as well as potential dust exposure from treated seed to humans and beneficial insects during storage, transport, handling and planting. Agrocer color products go through rigorous testing across multiple plant species and numerous combinations of polymers, colorants, and active ingredients representing a wide range of typical seed treatments to simulate ‘real life’. With their extensive testing, Agrocer colorants are designed to take into account the key concerns of the seed treatment industry.

Usability and Customization

Previously, the basic range for seed colorants consisted of red, blue, green and violet. With EPA approval of Clariant’s Agrocer pigments Yellow 1 and Red 112, virtually any shade is possible. “These two pigments complete the color palette, allowing customers to design their seed products with the safeguard of knowing they are compliant, safe, reliable, and can be marketed internationally,” says Self. Available in liquid, granular and powdered options, in any package size required, the different handling forms provide flexibility and compliment any level of expertise or technical capacity at a customer site. Agrocer products are also formulated with a high pigment load, meaning that weight for weight they can cost less than traditional colorants.

Taking Color Applications a Step Further

Agrocer can help grow brand recognition for seed products with specific colors, making seeds recognizable and, more importantly, distinguishable. “Companies can use color in their marketing, creating additional value by utilizing a specific color to identify and brand their seeds. Safety and VALUE can be associated with the ability to identify a seed treatment at a glance. Users will know right away that the product has the traits they want. Seed coloration, once an afterthought, is now an important tool used alongside packaging and marketing materials as a branding opportunity,” Self concludes.

The full impact of 2020 is still unknown for the globalized seed industry. What is clear, is that seeds play a fundamental role in our food systems and Clariant’s Agrocer colorants offer the next generation of products for successful coating and planting results, helping to contribute to food security.

Iran, India to discuss agricultural co-op in an online meeting −− Iran and India are supposed to discuss cooperation in the field of agriculture in an online meeting on October 13.

The meeting will be participated by a number of officials from both sides, including Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Head Masoud Khansari, Indian Ambassador to Tehran Gaddam Dharmendra, and a representative from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture.

Economic and political relations between Iran and India date back to centuries ago and the two countries have kept their ties throughout many turbulences and ups and downs. India is the only foreign country that is currently participating in a major development project in Iran despite the U.S. sanctions. The Chabahar Port development project, in southeastern Iran, is the anchor for the expansion of economic relations between the two nations.

In an interview conducted by the Tehran Times at the place of the daily in mid-July, Indian Ambassador to Tehran Gaddam Dharmendra said, “Iran is a very import trade partner for us, and this year, especially, is more significant since it marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the two countries' political relations which was started after the signing of a treaty between the two sides.” “Iran and India’s relationship is not something new, it is very robust and goes back to centuries. We have a very strong foundation to build upon and that is how the two sides’ leaders are stressing the need for expanding relationships in all areas”, the Indian envoy reiterated. “We are also neighbors, we are maritime neighbors, and now with Chabahar port as the anchor of the two countries' trade relations, we have become maritime partners as well”, he added. Prime Minister Modi and President Rouhani have met four times this year and that is the indication of how important the relations are for both sides, Dharmendra said. “As you see, our economic relations continue despite all the limitations and challenges”, the ambassador underlined. India was the first country that put in place a banking mechanism to be able to trade with Iran in national currencies, he said, adding this rupee-rial channel is being facilitated by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It has helped the traders in both countries for the exchange of commodities.

IRRI (International Rice Research Institute)

Climate-smart, drought-tolerant rice varieties for improved crop outputs for West Bengal farmers Cloud computing to help the rice sector in the Philippines

Top officials of Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) led by its Vice Minister, Le Quoc Doanh, discussed the future directions of the research collaboration between MARD and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in a virtual meeting on 18 September 2020. Dr. Doanh acknowledged the fruitful 60-year partnership between IRRI and Vietnam, specifically on sharing rice varieties, providing capacity building, and expanding support to climate change and resource management.

IRRI was represented by Jim Godfrey, IRRI Board of Trustees (BOT) chair, Matthew Morell, IRRI Director General, former MARD Minister Cao Duc Phat and current member of the IRRI Board, and Dr. Yurdi Yasmi and Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander, the institute’s regional representative for Southeast Asia and country representative to Vietnam, respectively.

“I expressed my gratitude to Vietnam’s strong support for and collaboration with IRRI that has contributed significantly to the development of the rice sector in the country,” said Dr. Godfrey who acknowledged the importance of the relationship between the two during the meeting that discussed the One CGIAR reform. “I look forward to the same level of commitment under the new CGIAR platform.”

One CGIAR, which starts on 1 October 2020, will place the 15 CGIAR Centers under one governance to enable its partnerships, knowledge, assets, and global presence to reach greater integration and impact in the face of the interdependent challenges facing today’s world.

“CGIAR is concerned with developing an agriculture system that enhances farmers’ livelihoods and adapts to and mitigates the impact of climate change,” said Dr. Morell. He stressed that under One CGIAR, CGIAR centers working in Vietnam will be an integrated system for collaboration and resource sharing to address climate-related risks such as salinity intrusion and drought. IRRI has asked MARD to make Vietnam’s position clear on the One CGIAR process in terms of its commitments and the support. In response, Dr. Doanh made a commitment on behalf of MARD to give full support to One CGIAR and inform the CGIAR System Council about IRRI’s important work in Vietnam. Dr. Morell also encouraged MARD to harness regional platforms such as the Council for Partnership on Rice Research in Asia (CORRA) and the ASEAN RiceNet for sharing knowledge and technologies for the improvement of the region’s rice sector. The Vice Minister supported the idea of actively participating in CORRA by promoting and sharing Vietnam’s successful programs.

Finally, Dr. Morell asked MARD to work with IRRI in securing multilateral projects to continue future cooperation and invited Vietnam to engage in South-South cooperation, especially with African countries, on rice sector development.

Dr. Phat expressed support for South-South collaborations with IRRI and shared Vietnam’s previous activities to help the African rice sector. Representatives from attached agencies under MARD presented a more specific research agenda to IRRI. Dr. Nguyen Quang Tin of the Department of Science, Technology and Environment proposed priority areas of collaborative research, such as rice variety development, soil management, and postharvest technologies. Dr. Pham Ngoc Thach of the Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute discussed pressing research concerns for the Mekong River Delta and requested IRRI to expand its human resource development and capacity building activities; exchange varieties and genetic resources with improved quality, climate change resilience; improve nutrition and strengthen rice value chains; address sedimentation; reassess technologies and practices and share them to farmers; and form working groups to implement these activities.

CGIAR is a global partnership of 15 organizations conducting research for a food-secure future. Recently, One CGIAR was announced aiming for greater integration and impact in the face of the interdependent challenges facing today’s world. Other organizations under CGIAR include Africa Rice Center, Center for International Forestry Research, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics, International Food Policy Research Institute, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, International Livestock Research Institute, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, International Potato Center, International Water Management Institute, The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, World Agroforestry, and WorldFish. These organizations will continue to work together to address food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation and improvement of quality of life, gender equality and social inclusion, climate change, and environment and biodiversity.

pesticides banned in India

Yating Jiang

An overview of pesticides registered in China for application on cotton Gowan: Focusing on specialty crop market, enhancing biocontrol product development

On May 14th, 2020, Indian Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare issued a directive saying that no one should import, produce, sell, transport, distribute and use 27 pesticide varieties beginning from the date of the formal promulgation of the ban (Market Status of 27 Pesticides in China Table 1).

The release of the news has immediately aroused widespread market attention and concerns. According to IIFL, the market value of the 27 pesticides to be banned reaches RS 63650 million. India is China's main competitor in global supply of pesticide technical, the ban may benefit relevant Chinese manufacturers. Regarding the registration and export status of the 27 pesticides in China, this paper presents a summary, as based on the China Pesticide Export Analysis, and the registration information of China Pesticide Information Network (product registrations within validity up to July 8th, 2020).

Table 1 Market Status of 27 Pesticides in China

Category

Product

Use in China

Insecticide

acephate

Not banned

benfuracarb

Not banned

carbofuran

Banned

chlorpyrifos

Not banned (restricted)

deltamethrin

Not banned

dicofol

Banned

dimethoate

Not banned (restricted)

malathion

Not banned

methomyl

Not banned   (restricted)

monocrotophos

Banned

quinalphos

Not banned

thiodicarb

Not banned   (restricted)

Herbicide

2,4-D

Not banned

atrazine

Not banned

butachlor

Not banned

diuron

Not banned

oxyfluorfen

Not banned

pendimethalin

Not banned

sulfosulfuron

Not   registered

Fungicide

captan

Not banned

 

carbendazim

Not banned

 

dinocap

Banned

 

mancozeb

Not banned

 

thiophanate-methyl

Not banned

 

thiram

Not banned

 

zineb

Not banned

 

ziram

Not banned

 

1.Herbicide

1)Atrazine According to Customs export data, in 2019, 153 Chinese companies exported atrazine to 71 countries/regions, with the highest export volume to Brazil, the United States, Argentina, India and Nigeria. The total export value was $238 million with total export volume of 76,000 tons. The products with the highest export value were atrazine 95% TC, atrazine WDG 90% and atrazine 98% TC. Among the mixtures, the atrazine mixing with mesotrione and nicosulfuron had the highest export value. According to China Pesticide Information Network, as of July 8th, 2020, a total of 286 companies hold 972 effective registrations containing atrazine, including 26 technical products, 173 single agents and 773 formulations. The top three registered formulations are OD (395), SE (210) and SC (202). Among the mixtures, the largest number of registrations are mixtures of atrazine with nicosulfuron and mesotrione, being 158 and 126 respectively.

2)Butachlor In 2019, a total of 109 Chinese companies exported butachlor to 22 countries/regions, with a total export value of $39.03 million and a total export volume of 13,000 tons. The top five destinations are Vietnam, Nigeria, Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines. The products with highest export value were butachlor 95% TC and butachlor 60% EC. A total of 179 companies were granted 302 effective registrations in China containing butachlor, including 95 single agents and 23 technical products and 124 mixtures. The top three registered formulations are EC, WP and SE. Among the mixtures, the largest number of registrations are mixtures of butachlor with atrazine, bensulfuron and oxadiazon.

3)Diuron In 2019, a total of 91 Chinese companies exported diuron to 62 countries/regions, with a total export value of $63.48 million and a total export volume of 11,000 tons. The top five destinations are Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, Nigeria and Colombia. The products with highest export value were diuron 80% WDG and 80% WP. A total of 159 registrations were granted in China containing diuron, including 13 technical products, 36 single agents and 110 mixtures. The top three registered formulations are WP (78), SC (48) and WDG (18). Among the mixtures, the largest number of registrations are binary mixture of diuron with thidiazuron, as well as ternary mixture with ametryn and chipton.

4)Oxyfluorfen In 2019, a total of 109 Chinese companies exported oxyfluorfen to 70 countries/regions, with a total export value of $73.36 million and a total export volume of 3,510 tons. The top five destinations are USA, India, Spain, Israel and Belgium. The products with highest export value were oxyfluorfen 97% TC and oxyfluorfen 240g/L EC. A total of 174 registrations were granted in China containing diuron, including 18 technical products, 56 single agents and 100 mixtures. The largest number of formulation registrations are EC (99) and TC (48). Among the mixtures, the largest number of registrations are ternary mixture of oxyfluorfen with oxadiazon and pretilachlor, as well as binary mixture with acetochlor.

5)Pendimethalin In 2019, a total of 92 Chinese companies exported pendimethalin to 70 countries/regions, with a total export value of $55.81 million and a total export volume of 10,100 tons. The top five destinations are Venezuela, Italy, Israel, Thailand and Pakistan. The top three products with highest export value were pendimethalin 95% TC, pendimethalin 500g/L EC and pendimethalin 330g/L EC, accounting for 94% of the total. A total of 233 registrations containing pendimethalin were granted to 147 companies in China, including 27 technical products, 134 single agents and 72 mixtures. The top three registered formulations are EC (149), TC (27) and SC (21).

2.Fungicide

1)Captan In 2019, a total of 41 Chinese companies exported captan to 38 countries/regions, with a total export value of $13.49 million and a total export volume of 2,878 tons. The top four destinations are Israel, the United States, Poland and Thailand. The products with highest export value were captan 95% TC, captan 97% TC and captan 80% WDG. A total of 62 registrations containing captan were granted, including 11 technical products, 38 single agents and 13 mixtures. The top two registered formulations are WDG (23) and WP (16). 2)Carbendazim In 2019, a total of 206 Chinese companies exported carbendazim to 87 countries/regions, with a total export value of $102 million and a total export volume of 22,400 tons. The top four destinations are Brazil, India, Thailand andThe products with highest export value were carbendazim 98% TC, carbendazim 50% SC and carbendazim 500g/L SC. A total of 949 registrations containing carbendazim were granted to 432 companies, including 21 technical products, 261 single agents and 667 mixtures. The top two registered formulations are WP (671) and SC (150). Among the mixtures, the largest number of registrations are binary mixture of carbendazim respectively with thiram and mancozeb.

3)Mancozeb In 2019, a total of over 150 Chinese companies exported mancozeb to over 85 countries/regions, with a total export value of $46.80 million and a total export volume of 16,100 tons. The top five destinations are Vietnam, Indonesia, Tanzania, Thailand and the Philippines. The mancozeb 80% WP, mancozeb 75% WDG and mancozeb 96% TC accounted for 99% of the total export. Among the mixtures, the two mixtures of mancozeb with metalaxyl and cymoxanil have the top-ranking export value. A total of 862 registrations containing mancozeb were granted to 386 companies, including 29 technical products, 248 single agents and 585 mixtures. Among the mixtures, the largest number of registrations are binary mixture of mancozeb respectively with carbendazim and metalaxyl.

4)Thiophanate-methyl In 2019, a total of over 140 Chinese companies exported thiophanate-methyl to nearly 80 countries/regions, with a total export value of $27.20 million and a total export volume of 6,114 tons. The top four destinations are Brazil, Egypt, Mexico and India. The products with highest export value were thiophanate-methyl 95% TC, thiophanate-methyl 70% WP and thiophanate-methyl 500g/L SC. A total of 538 registrations containing thiophanate-methyl were granted to 275 companies, including 19 technical products, 282 single agents and 237 mixtures. The main registered formulations are WP (350) and SC (135). The largest number of registrations are mixtures of thiophanate-methyl with thiram.

5)Thiram In 2019, a total of 21 Chinese companies exported thiram to 17 countries/regions, with a total export value of $555,000 and a total export volume of 177.77 tons. The main destinations are Sudan, Senegal, Uruguay and Myanmar. The two products with highest export value were thiram 50% WP and thiram 80% WDG. A total of 721 registrations containing thiram were granted to 326 companies, including 12 technical products, 77 single agents and 627 mixtures. The main registered formulations are WP (504) and FS (151). Among the mixtures, the largest number of registered mixtures are mixtures of thiram with carbendazim (138).

6)Zineb In 2019, a total of 10 Chinese companies exported zineb to 8 countries/regions, with a total export value of $560,000 and a total export volume of 131 tons. The main destinations are South Korea, Japan and Libya. The top two export products were zineb 80% WP and zineb 90% TC. A total of 99 registrations containing zineb were granted, including 9 technical products, 82 single agents and 8 mixtures. The main registered formulation is WP (87).

7)Ziram In 2019, a total of 3 Chinese companies exported ziram to 4 countries/regions, with a total export value of $193,900 and a total export volume of 57.1 tons. The main destinations are Vietnam and Cambodia. The top two export products were ziram 90% TC and ziram 72% WP. A total of 88 registrations containing ziram were granted, including 2 technical products, 6 single agents and 80 mixtures. The main registered formulation is WP (86).

3.Insecticide

1)Chlorpyrifos In 2019, a total of 300 Chinese companies exported chlorpyrifos to over 100 countries/regions, with a total export value of $193 million and a total export volume of 32,500 tons. The main destinations are Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. The products with highest export value were chlorpyrifos 97% TC, chlorpyrifos 40% EC and chlorpyrifos 95% TC. Statistics shows that a total of 543 companies hold 1,126 registrations containing chlorpyrifos, including 72 technical products, 567 single agents and 487 mixtures. Concerning formulation type, the largest number of registered formulations are EC (683) and GR (108). Among the mixtures, the largest number of registered mixtures are binary mixture of chlorpyrifos respectively with phoxim and triazophos.

2)Deltamethrin In 2019, a total of 110 Chinese companies exported deltamethrin to 77 countries/regions, with a total export value of $7.43 million and a total export volume of 1,235 tons. The main destinations are Indonesia, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. The products with highest export value were deltamethrin 25g/L EC, deltamethrin 0.4% chalk and deltamethrin 98% TC. China has granted 199 deltamethrin registrations, including 11 technical products, 126 single agents and 62 mixtures. Registration statistics shows that the largest number of registered formulations are EC (108) and SC (21).

Amid the continuous vehement protest by the farmers and opposition parties against the controversial bill, President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent for the three bills passed by the Parliament. While farmers of many states have expressed their disagreement towards the new legislation and come out to street, Maharashtra and few parts of Uttar Pradesh farmers have considered the bill as historic one.

What are the Three Agriculture Bills?

The three bills are Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.

These bills were passed by the both houses amid the heavy ruckus and drama created by opposition parties during the recently concluded monsoon session.

On the other hand, few parties like the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), NDA's oldest ally, quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Sunday over the controversial farm bills issue.

The farmers say that they are apprehensive about getting Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce and also concerned about the upper hand of the agri-businesses and big retailers in negotiations.

"Bharat bandh" was observed across the states while farmers blocked several roads in Haryana.

The movement of trains remained suspended on Saturday in Punjab as farmers have extended their “rail roko" agitation by three days till September 29.

In Punjab, the call for the “rail roko" agitation was given by the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee after which 20 trains were partially cancelled and five short terminated till September 26 by the Railways.

Why Farmers are Protesting against Farm Bill 2020?

The farmers who are fervently opposing the agribill believes that this bill is made to help big corporate houses at the cost of farmers. The opposition parties have also stood against the three bills, calling them "anti-farmers".

Fear of not getting MSP

The issues and fears raised by the protesters include end of ‘minimum support price’ (MSP) regime in due course, irrelevance of state-controlled Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) ‘mandis’, risk of losing out land rights under contract farming rule, reduction in price of farm produce due to market domination by big agri-businesses and exploitation of farmers by big contractors through contract farming provisions.

The new reformations are likely to impact influential ‘commission agents’ (known as ‘arhatiyas’ in Punjab and Haryana) in ‘mandis’ who don’t want their grip over farmers to weaken.

Ashok Prasad, CEO & co-founder, Unnati said, "This is a revolutionary step taken by the government in transforming the agriculture sector and enabling farmers to become more competitive and turn the industry into a lucrative one. As a player in the ecosystem, it is clear that the intent of the bill is headed in the right direction and will certainly have a positive impact on farmers across the country. Particularly for small farmers, the bill will benefit them since they will not be able to sell their produce directly to processors and be presented with a plethora of choices that were absent earlier. It will place the power in the farmers’ hands to decide where, how, and what to produce. Prominent stakeholders such as agri-tech platforms will also play a pivotal role in creating online mediums to facilitate the output aggregation. Furthermore, they can also provide real-time access to farmers. The bills will undoubtedly offer a huge scope of new players to emerge in the market.”

China's ICAMA issues regulations on the registration of export-only pesticides to promote pesticide export

On 8th June, the Institute for the Control of Agrochemicals of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs recently issued an announcement of regulation (Ref No. 269) pertaining to the registration of export-only pesticide (JD registration).