Effects of COVID-19 on fish value chains: Descriptive Evidence from India
The COVID-19 pandemic which started at the beginning of 2020 has affected economies of many countries, including India where the government implemented containments measures such as lockdown regulations and curfews to curb the spread of the pandemic. Understanding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on fish value chains is therefore important to inform policy, and the policy responses chosen by the government have important implications for food and nutrition security, employment, and poverty. This study aimed at assessing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on fish value chains in India, over the period between 2019 and 2020. The specific objectives were to assess the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on: 1) access by fish value chain actors to inputs for fish production, processing and marketing; 2) fish production and sales; 3) access to markets by value chain actors including impacts on sales, prices and competition; and 4) the welfare of fish value chain actors. Primary data was collected through a survey of 326 value chain actors conducted in December 2020 in six districts of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The actors surveyed were aquaculture producers, fish processors (mainly involved in drying fish from capture fisheries), and fish traders (trading a mix of farmed and capture fish). The sampling strategy for the value chain actors combined convenience and snowball sampling. Data was collected using computer-assisted telephone interviews, in order to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. The objectives of the study are answered through a descriptive statistical analysis. The results show that the COVID-19 pandemic did not have a significant effect on access by fish value chain actors to inputs such as labor, credit, fish feeds and other farming inputs, processing and marketing inputs, including trade agreements with input suppliers. However, the pandemic had a significant negative impact on volumes of fish production and trade. Furthermore, it had a significant negative effect on access to output markets, with negative effects on sales, prices and competition. Moreover, the pandemic had a significant negative effect on the welfare of fish value chain actors.