The Food Industry Is Growing, But Farmers Aren’t
In June of 2020, Americans bought record-breaking amounts of food, spending $7.2 billion (in one month alone!) according to TechCrunch and research by Brick Meets Click and Mercatus. Since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, more and more people are grocery shopping online. Walmart is rolling out a new membership called “Walmart Plus” which provides same-day delivery for groceries. Not only that, but Uber just purchased Postmates, another food delivery company similar to UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash and Wolt to name a few. The food industry is virtually exploding and digitally transforming with no sign of slowing down to say the least.
What does this mean for the agriculture and farming industry? With countries on lock-down, who will tend to the crops? Some farmers may have to sacrifice quality for quantity, and vice versa. Since the outbreak, employment rates have plummeted and finding experienced farmers to help maintain healthy crop yields is no easy task. Agriculture and farming requires deep knowledge and experience in water irrigation and caring for the land. At the end of the food chain, will we the consumers be the ones to pay the price, or will it be the farmers who are impacted most? During these sensitive times, farmers are so vital to the success of those big food companies.
Healing Our Fragile Food Supply Chain
In a social-distance-minded economy, Coronavirus is dramatically affecting the food/agriculture industry and in more ways than one. According to TIME, the “world’s fragile food supply chain” could leave millions hungry due to an increase of food shortages. This is especially true for produce and vegetables which have an even shorter shelf life in the heat. Harvests around the world are going to waste due to a lack of employees, fear of infection and travel bans. The bigger your crop, the more muscle you need for upholding and surveillancing the farmlands. So, how can we keep our crop yields high with lots of food when people are at home in quarantine?
In order to grow a healthy crop yield, farmers need to know everything about the land and how to care for each separate crop. Some food crops require more water than others and some crops require more fertilizer than others, depending on the season and geographic region. You still need to work with heavy and complex equipment like water valves, timers, drip lines, hoses, water pumps, fertilizers and pesticides. Not only that, but it’s an extreme amount of labor to plant, prune and pick the food from each harvest in a smooth and sustainable cycle. The gentle balance between sunlight, water and fertilizer is a scientific relationship between mother nature and humankind that demands continuous care and attention, lest it all go awry.