In this globally pandemic situation, there is barely anyone who is unaware of COVID-19. Everyone is maintaining strict regulations following proper hygiene, social distancing, and home quarantine. Industrialization is largely hindered by which most developed countries are mostly dependent including some developing and under-developed countries too. This eventually leads to unemployed lazy lives. People sitting idly in their respective home places and staying jobless for a long time-lapse. Due to this, the social and economic lifecycle is hampered. This, if continues for a longer period of time, may lead a country’s economic prospects at stake. People unable to invest will cause the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to go down, reducing the growth per capita and other important economic indicators. At this stage, every country should be more aware of its natural resources via the agricultural sector as it is the only way out to a country’s subsistence. Moreover, the informal sector, which consists of a lion’s share in most of the economy should also be handled accordingly in order to cope up. So, the ways and measures regarding how to take all these steps to avoid a probable great recession is a timely demand indeed which is mainly portrayed through this article.
COVID19 or Novel Coronavirus is a major threat to the world in the present day. Originating from Wuhan state in China, a single person cannot be found unaware of Corona now. Its dangers in recent days are thunderstruck. Uncountable people around the world are suffering due to this Corona crisis. This pandemic is equally hampering one’s livelihood, creating obstacles in their career and job opportunities, purchasing power, and overall lifestyle. So, being a curse for this globally civilized world where people cannot think of a single day. So, being workless they may find it extremely difficult to pass days by hand to mouth. Moreover, there persist one single question, “Where will the world economy rest- A U-shaped or a V-shaped?” Wherever it stands, we have to be prepared for every small to high waves.
Corona, a contagious disease, in order to control, home quarantine, and lockdown are prerequisites. People being into these, cannot be able to go to their workplace, as a result affecting the overall economy. From industries to schools and hospitals, all the infrastructural development is disturbed. These, as a consequence, affecting people’s livelihood in many cases. Many remaining unemployed for years, and many with prevailing jobs are losing them. The labor-intensive activities are at stake. Among them, most harm is seen among the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) businesses. Having found their net benefit lesser due to total cost becoming higher as they cannot invest like before, they are discouraged to run the business afterward and lose them.
In figure 1, it has been shown how the advanced side of the map is slowing down due to Corona crisis(Chang, 2020). Bangladesh is also largely affected through this Corona situation. The country possessing a copious amount of cultivable land, about 60%, its share of agricultural GDP is only 14%(Bokhtiar, 2020).This is because Bangladesh has augment dependency on its RMG sector for export earnings and so far most sharing’s of export earnings came from RMG sector, i.e., USD 34 million where agriculture contributed only USD 2 million. Now that Corona happened and RMG sector has to be shrunk, the country is forced to use the lost opportunity back to utilize it to the fullest.
Every country is generally based on two sectors. Bangladesh economy is also indifferent from it. In Bangladesh about 86.2% of the total employed population falls under informal economy in some cases having 90% of its which is really conspicuous (Das, 2020) .So, it is better to transform our economy from center to periphery based. In other words, from industrialization to agriculture dependency, where about more than 60% of the agricultural activities falls under the informal sector according to International Labor Organization (ILO)(Medina, 2018).
Some possible precautions that can be taken to revive the informal agriculture sector following the remodeling of post pandemic world are mentioned below:
As agricultural sector will play a vital role amidst this crisis and with the probability of no other sectors being able to perform actively, this sector should be given utmost priority. Improvised machineries and technologies should be provided to the agricultural sector so that the farmers found it more comfortable to cherish the cultivable land and cover the rest of the economic activities via agricultural production. Besides,Bangladesh can take different steps to substitute subsistence agriculture with market oriented agriculture if proper amount of seeds and fertilizers and other inputs are provided free to ensure a private sector friendly policy to attract the potential investors. Also the quality of public agricultural programs can be improved, i.e., government can set a large number of food processing agricultural hubs across the country so that people can consume them easily with lesser effort, encouraging private entrepreneurs equally.
Farmers are to be given a specific amount of loans for seeds and fertilizers. Poor farmers are to be given loans accordingly so that they can be economically stable, being more encouraged in producing agricultural products which in turn can increase our self-sufficiency. Farmers have to be subsidized also. Some farmers are so poor that they can’t even bear the costs for inputs. They often need advanced instruments and materials for massive agricultural production which at often times are hampered due to lack of there being agricultural materials. So, government should find out those farmers or agricultural workers and subsidize them accordingly. Dry land farmers should be supported to create their own employment and boast up the economy aside helping agricultural products. A type of rice known as Boro rice is produced in the dry lands of Bangladesh which is the staple food of her. Apart from it, major crops like wheat and potato are also produced in the dry lands. So, dry lands should be taken under proper management. The dry lands, in order to make arable, should be taken proper steps like irrigation and using specific fertilizers. There should be three prolonged strategy for the dry land regions. Added by, the vulnerable or poor people and farmers should be supported with specific stipends so that they can live in a well-off manner. Also the farmers should be rewarded for their good works. They are to be provided with certain facilities so that they can bring economic prosperity between this crises.
The farm’s work place and work environment should be taken care of so that the farmers and other workers should remain healthy and safe.In order to ensure the safety of workers, PPE should be provided to each of them so that they can be aware of the health facts with no disease spread.Some crops are highly conditional on the weather and overall environment situation. Extreme environments can be a reason for ruining these cash crops. So, the environmental quality should be strengthened accordingly.
Government should prepare planning and preparing for both pre and post COVID situation. Due to this worldwide pandemic, all the workers are maintaining home quarantine out of mere consciousness, resulting the pending works incomplete. On this note, the production process is ruined leaving many people in extreme poverty and hunger. Many policymakers are suggesting to use the preserved agricultural products for our survival but care should be taken so that we don’t finish all of them and invite a widespread famine. A Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering (CIAE) is to be established for the development of wider research in agriculture sector added by further research and development programs.Lastly, the participation of public-private partnership in tackling the post pandemic crisis will be a necessary one. The Government and Non-Government Organizations (NGO) if work hand in hand, there will be no possible unrest in the economy
Other informal sector workers include wage laborers, self-employed persons, unpaid family labor, piece-rate workers, and other hired labor. They are also to be helped for restructuring the growth again in the post pandemic. The ways how to remodel them are:
- Cash Transfer programs
The International Centre for Migration Policy Development reports that half a million migrant workers returned home to Bangladesh between January and mid-March 2020.
Those one million expatriates are now totally unemployed with no income. So, they are to be provided with cash incentives to rebuild their business here with Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) businesses and so on.
- Using microfinance institutes
For wage distribution and regularity, microfinance institutes can be established so that the wage distribution is systematic among the workers.
- Quick implementation of the schemes
Quick implementation is necessary other than slow and experimental process. In this emergency case, trial and error should be prior to perfect selections of policies. So the schemes which are nearby are to be implemented early as possible to get an effective result.
Writter: Muntaha Masud Tanha Department of Economics East West University
Bokhtiar, S., 2020. Why we should make farming more market oriented. The Daily Star.
Chang, S. P., 2020. International Monetary Fund. [Online]
Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cyz0z8w0ydwt/coronavirus-pandemic
Das, D. N., 2020. Reviving Post COVID Economy. The Business Standard.
Medina, R. D. D., 2018. International labor Organization. [Online]
Available at: https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_627189/lang–en/index.htm
 Why we should make farming more market-oriented. (2020, June 18). The Daily Star. https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/news/why-we-should-make-farming-more-market-oriented-1916113
 Supporting informal sector key to reviving post-covid economy. (2020, May 21). The Business Standard. https://tbsnews.net/thoughts/supporting-informal-sector-key-reviving-post-covid-economy-83938
 More than 60 per cent of the world’s employed population are in the informal economy. (2018, April 30). International Labour Organization. https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_627189/lang–en/index.htm