It is immensely disturbing to know that the world has hit with second wave of catastrophic pandemic and the relief was short-lived. An alert has been declared with strict enforcement of SOPs and smart lockdowns. This pandemic has transformed lifestyles around the globe and people now are more tuned to maintain social distance and remain confined to their homes with round the clock access to basic needs, most importantly – the FOOD. This has resulted in boost to online shopping with people turning to e-commerce platform out of necessity and safety concerns regarding physical stores.
COVID-19 has accelerated transition to a digital future globally. Majority of the businesses today are being operated with more efficient mediums like e-commerce, and agribusinesses are no exception. Along with other disruptors and technologies, e-commerce is also firming its roots in agribusinesses. As the food demand increasing, suppliers are seeking greater distribution and access to the regional and local supply chain. Globally, agribusiness moves quickly to catch up the e- commerce trends whereas the subsistence agrifood players in Pakistan has also started shifting their marketing operation to e-commerce, adapting quickly and implementing solution to adjust to this “the new normal”.
A great reduction has seen in B2B businesses globally whereas there has been a surge in home deliveries (B2C). An increase use of digital payments have been recorded during this pandemic. It has accelerated small holder’s openness to digital payments as well as consumer use of online payments. A famous quote of Charles Dicken says “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” Whilst this year has seen the worst of times with uncertainty, anxiety and economic failings, the pandemic has also provided opportunities for change and progress. It has witnessed that only those companies survived and expanded which had transformed their operation as per the situation and somewhat kept the supply steadily delivered to consumer Agrifood in Pakistan majorly comes from rural side of the country and the farmers are least familiar with the platforms like e-commerce. However, many agripreneur have taken the advantage of e-commerce and hooked with local farmer to deliver the agrifood items to consumer at doorstep.
Many agri e-commerce start up are evolving and providing convenient buying mode to consumer. One fresh example is Agrifood on WHEEL which is an agristop shop and delivers fresh, healthy and traceable agrifood of consumer’s choice.
Agri e-commerce is advancing and a positive growth is predicted even post COVID-19. Agri e-commerce players are upgrading to retain maximum customers by developing consumer trust and ensuring hassle-free online experiences.
As the systems and channels are upgrading with pandemic, I am hopeful that the effect will not be much pronounced this time. With first hit of COVID-19, it has completely understood that the integral part of people lives is “FOOD”, which is needed for survival. Availability and accessibility of which is the key responsibility both government and agrifood players. It is therefore highly important to understand this fact and tap this opportunity by providing enabling environment for the agribusinesses, infuse e-commerce and promote the local produce in order to get least effected with closures and maintain a steady supply for the local population.