The paper provides additional context on COVID-19-related effects on local and regional economies and food supply chains. It also covers how the locust invasion has created “crisis within a crisis” in the surveyed provinces and exacerbated conditions that could lead to famine, disease, and increased poverty. To combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, provincial and federal governments in Pakistan introduced non-pharmaceutical interventions, including restrictions on movements of people and lockdowns of cities during March–May 2020. Anticipating that the lockdowns and movement restrictions would have negative impacts on the marketing of agricultural and food products, they were exempted from the restrictions. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that marketing of agricultural and food products was negatively affected despite the exemptions.
The surveys found that the COVID-19 pandemic had significant negative impacts on farm households in the Sindh and Punjab provinces. The two surveys found that the COVID-19 pandemic had significant negative impacts on farm households in Punjab and Sindh. In both provinces, one-third of farm households experienced losses in wages and nonfarm earnings, and almost one-quarter reported that at least one family member had returned from urban or other areas. Thus, farm households needed to support more family members but with decreased wages and nonfarm earnings. About 10% of farm households in Punjab and more than half the farm households in Sindh reported reduced food and nonfood expenditures.