It has been one month since the first COVID-19 case has been confirmed in Bangladesh. The numbers of infected people are increasing exponentially. Already the government has declared lock-down in different areas and cancelled all the international flights. This step is necessary; however, this has lead problems to many people. As Dhaka is the center of all the employment for the people who earns by daily basis, they have lost their livelihood. Economic problem is just not limited within this group of people. Present world is dependent on being globalized. We are depended on many sectors for export and import. For example, RMG and remittance sectors will face challenges. Both sectors plays vital role on our GDP. As garment workers are unable to participate and foreign workers are unable to go foreign countries, their share of economic growth may go missing. The more concerning issue is our food industry. We are dependent on different types of food supply from foreign countries. AS COVID-19 is global pandemic, other countries are suffering too as a result there is a chance that food supply may face various obstacles.
It is time, we start thinking about revitalizing our food need as well as economic condition for upcoming days. Recent lookouts have been confirmed that the rural people are suffering the most. This is very logical as most of the people are earning on daily basis. For example, the farmers, which are the largest portion, are unable to sell their harvest, vegetable and other food items because of transportation restriction. As they do not have any cold storage, they are unable to store too. As a result, they are selling products with minimum amount leading great loss. The poultry and dairy farmers are facing same situation. Moreover, they have to buy feed which would have been already sold by this time. In this crisis, price of feed has also increased. On the other hand, the irony is that although farmers are selling their product at low price to the middle man, common city people are buying these product at regular or high price. This problem will continue, even will get worse without government intervention.
There are 83,000 poultry farmer who have investment about 42,000 crore BDT. If they continue to lose profit share, they have to bear the burden of loan. Many of them will loss everything. Farmers who are unable to sell their products and also unable to buy seeds, pesticides, etc. for harvesting will have nothing to feed themselves. As a result, rural development will decrease. Housing, infrastructure, education, health and so on will be at risk. People will have few amount to expend on these as their basic need of eating is at risk. As flood season are coming, rural people are more vulnerable. Each year flood causes housing , infrastructure and livestock destruction. Rural people will have very few resources to rebuild what they have lost.
The business standard has collected data which are shown below.
|Rural People at Risk for COVID-19|
|Rural People Involved in Non-institutional Work||5 Crore|
|Day Laborers||1 Crore|
|Self Employed People Currently at Risk for Lock Down||2.7 Crore|
|People Engaged in Food Related Works||72 Lakhs|