The impact of COVID19 in MIOA member countries is known through regional meetings

The impact of COVID19 in MIOA member countries is known through regional meetings

The impact of COVID19 in MIOA member countries is known through regional meetings

July 17, 2020

Regional meetings were scheduled at the direction of the Chair and organized by the Technical Secretariat in order to have a sense of the impact of COVID19 on their nations in general, and specifically on their Agricultural Market Information System (MIS). In general, the following conditions seemed prevalent throughout the countries:

  • Most MISs continue to report markets. In some cases, reporters have limited access to informants, mainly due to movement restrictions and social distancing. Reporters in the various countries employed a number of approaches for the collection of information, including by telephone, text and emails.  There were some reductions in the number of products  or markets covered due to these factors.
  • The common observation was that  prices in the wholesale markets had been relatively stable, except for some moments early on where there was some with panic purchases or with specific products.
  • Another common observation was that the food service industry was devastated in the immediate term, as schools, restaurants and hotels were all closed.  In some cases, this caused a significant loss of product as the processors of fresh products for food service were suddenly not accepting shipments.  Thus, some fresh products were eventually dumped, as the supplies and the needs were misaligned in the short term.
  • It was seen throughout the countries that the marketers and producers have been forced to innovate and seek new ways to reach clients directly. Different forms of marketing using home delivery, drive-in or order ahead for pickup farmers markets have emerged, as well as some suing technology such as WhatsApp. and social networks. This has resulted in new logistical challenges for producers and marketers, as well as opportunities that did not exist before.
  • In the case of consumer prices, there have been rises in certain products, mostly related to supply chain issues.  The costs of moving products, both nationally and internationally  have increased due to mobility restrictions, local outbreaks, lack of transport or for fear of contagion.
  • Wholesale markets are taking the necessary measures to protect the health of their visitors. Some of them have increased cleaning measures (even temporary closing some markets), use of vendor protection equipment, and measures. In some cases, they moved the selling venues to larger and better-ventilated spaces.
  • Not all price effects are linked to COVID19. Some of them are due to seasonality, weather conditions, pests, or other issues. Hence, the importance of trained market reporters, who can differentiate the causes of these price variations.

MIOA seeks to promote communication and information sharing among its members.  We feel that these occasional group discussions support that goal and that they have been very enriching for the participants.