Government agri-research body ICAR is assessing the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on agriculture and allied sectors and taking measures to minimise its effect on the country’s food security, a senior ICAR official said.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is the apex body for coordinating, guiding, and managing research and education in agriculture in the entire country under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

“ICAR is preparing documents on the possible impact on agriculture and allied sectors and measures to minimise the negatives so that the food system remains unaffected,” the official said.

While the government has exempted many agricultural operations from harvesting to movement of produce to mandis from lockdown rules, the ICAR study will help the government take further action, the official added.

The official said that ICAR had issued crop-specific advisories to farmers, asking them to take general precautions and safety measures during harvesting, post-harvest operations, storage and marketing of rabi crops.

The government has imposed a 21-day countrywide lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. There are more than 3,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country at present.

Meanwhile, the official said ICAR had offered all its guest houses located in different states for quarantine use.

ICAR also said that its four institutes -- Bhopal-based National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bengaluru-based National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Disease Informatics (NIVEDI), Izatnagar-based Indian Veterinary Research Institute and Hisar-based National Research Centre on Equines (NRCE) -- have required facility to do COVID-19 tests.

ICAR further said its institutes are providing food and ensuring hygiene in nearby labourer colonies. It is also contributing one-day salary of its staff, amounting ₹6.06 crore, to PM-CARES fund to combat COVID-19.