Impact of COVID-19 to Fresh Food Industry

As soon as the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, it became imperative to UGA agricultural and applied economists that an economic forecast analysis was necessary for the fresh food industry. This economic forecast report will serve as an educational and professional guide for farmers, researchers and UGA Extension staff, lending agencies, policy makers and others in agriculture to facilitate decision making. It would further provide information on future farming, resource allocation and financial planning for all growers. The economists set out to investigate the impact to the specialty crop industry value and supply chain. Their studies were strictly based on economic theory and empirical evidence. The goal was to capture the actual impact to the agricultural production, producers and consumers in Georgia and the United States. These studies will be useful to growers in their daily decision making process and for policy implementation by state legislators, stakeholders and congressional representatives, especially in making difficult decisions that would be helpful for the state, fresh food industry, GFVGA, and affected fruits and vegetable farmers. Growers and stakeholders should think of these analyses as an awareness and preparation tool for the post-COVID-19 period. This information will help growers decide whether to increase or reduce acreages or to take out a loan or not. Knowing that there will be a shortage which will eventually increase prices gives the farmer planning advantage.