Findings from Kynetec’s recent COVID-19 impact on Agriculture survey highlighted that farmers have once again demonstrated their ability to adapt to new conditions and challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. For example, farmers have reacted to the crisis by mitigating shortages in farm inputs through earlier ordering, advanced planning or utilising alternative sources.
Kynetec conducted the survey across 6 key countries, USA, Canada, France, UK, Germany and the Czech Republic, and included feedback from 873 farmers.
The in-depth survey provided a mix of both positive and negative insights into the impact that COVID-19 has had on their lifestyle and livelihood. Whilst the degree of impact varied between countries, with country variation ranging from 41%-67% of farmers feeling that the virus has impacted their personal lives, in the short-term, farmers in most countries lack optimism regarding the current outlook for agriculture and the speed of economic post-lockdown recovery.
A perceived lack of access to services and consultancy from their industry partners and a reduction in achieved prices for farm outputs, which in turn has impacted overall farm profitability and planned investments, were some of the main challenges across all countries that farmers have faced because of COVID-19.
More specifically, for North America, 84% of US farmers and 70% of Canadian farmers cited a reduction in achieved prices for farm outputs as one of the major challenges that they have faced because of COVID-19. This in turn has impacted their overall farm profitability (78% US farmers, 86% Canadian farmers) and planned investments (US farmers 56%)
Lack of access to services and consultancy from the industry partners has been more challenging for farmers in Canada and Germany, 60% and 57% respectively. For farmers in the Czech Republic, 50% of farmers mentioned that access to temporary workers has been an issue, and planned investments have been impacted by 54% of Czech farmers.
Farmers mentioned expected changes as a consequence of the pandemic to include more virtual consultations and meetings (US, Canada and UK), and an expectation for increased consumer preference for local produce (US, UK, France, Germany and Czech Republic).
Despite the personal and business challenges encountered, 61% of UK farmers and 56% of US farmers stated that they now feel more proud to be farmers.
Catherine Bras-Sionneau, Executive Director of Custom Research, commented, “The survey was especially helpful in highlighting the resilience that farmers have shown throughout this pandemic. We can be reassured that farmers have adapted their ways of working to ensure business as usual, minimising risks around food supply and security.”
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