Published on July, 2nd, 2020
Up to 75% of the participants in the CREDA survey on the impact of COVID19 in the agri-food sector have seen their activity modified by the COVID19 crisis, mainly due to the decrease in the demand of some products and in the number of clients, as well as the closure of some commercialization/marketing channels. In contrast, the number of permanent staff remains rather stable, being the least impacted dimension.
The COVID19 crisis has shown the prominent role that the agri-food sector has in our societies; it has been working during the alarm state to ensure the correct provision of food. However, the complexity of the situation has forced the adoption of exceptional measures to adapt the activity to the sanitary requirements. In the survey carried out by CREDA-UPC-IRTA, 75% of the participants said they modified some aspects of their activity because of the COVID19.
The dimensions that were most affected are the demand for products, the number of clients and the channels through which they commercialize their production. Although a further sectorial analysis is required, the overall results show that specific commercialization channels suffered the highest impact. The paralysis of tourism and catering activities affected many producers who used to depend heavily on these channels. Simultaneously, changes in food purchasing patterns among consumers encouraged the proliferation of short supply chain initiatives with direct sale initiatives from small producer to consumers, as already discussed in other covidbytes.
Despite all these negative impacts on the sector, it has not translated into a high reduction in the permanent labour force, since only 15% of the sample reports a decrease in this dimension. Fast adaptation strategies put in place have surely influenced this positive turnout. This is specially relevant considering that their reported cost of raw materials increased by 25%, while the selling price of their products decreased by 31%.
Graphic 2 Percentage of companies that have seen a decrease or increase in some aspects due to the COVID19 crisis: