Agriculture after the pandemic

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Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz

After suffering severe labour shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems unlikely that advanced-economy farmers will return to business as usual. Instead, many will probably attempt to mitigate the risks stemming from dependence on foreign seasonal workers by automating more of their operations.

As the COVID-19 pandemic forces countries to close their borders, their agricultural sectors are confronting major challenges. Even in countries that are unlikely to face food insecurity – such as those in Europe and North America – farms are facing severe labor shortages, owing to new barriers that keep low-cost workers out. And the impact of the disruption on the supply of workers is likely to spur permanent shifts within the sector after the pandemic ends.
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