There are a few words that come to mind when you think of the American farmer: hardworking, resilient, and perseverance. Recently we have had to add technology innovator to that list as well. Born out of necessity created by the Covid-19 crisis, advancement of technology and globalization, the traditional markets for farmers are turning into virtual markets. Marketplaces have provided new areas of opportunities for food retailers, manufacturers, and consumers and the same is the case of the farming industry. Virtual farmer markets facilitate the farmers to protect their interests by connecting them globally without any geographical constraints. The virtual farmer market enables the product growers to think across the boundaries of their traditional methods and expose the uniqueness of their goods to an entirely new audience.
Recently, farmers and cultivators have faced unprecedented challenges in marketing, distribution and growth making it nearly impossible to meet the predicted sale price. With the national movement in farm-to-table dining in full swing farmers found a new profitable revenue steam providing produce not only to distributors but directly to restaurants. However, this found revenue would prove to be easily disrupted by the unforeseen pandemic causing huge losses for the farming community.
Currently, the worldwide pandemic “COVID-19” has disrupted the livelihoods and businesses worldwide and thus affecting the overall economy; not only on a local scale but across the global food supply chain. Because of this, farmers are required to bridge the supply gap and provide the farm products to those places which are in need. It has forced many organizations and different businesses to come up with innovative ideas to minimize the disruptions to economies. According to “Farmers market survey” (2020), numerous traditional businesses must implement virtual norms by staying home and paying attention to public health advices. Online connectivity helps this business to stay well-informed of price changes and production estimates.
In this crisis, farmers need to be virtually connected for tracking the latest trends in the market. In such a challenging situation, trading farm goods and agricultural products in the electronic platform is a better option to benefit the farmers as well as buyers. This will help in ensuring appropriate prices for farmers, benefiting the end consumers and giving them the opportunity to obtain agricultural products at competitive prices (Ghosh, 2018). The farmers have already stopped their production because products have nowhere to go due to lockdown and closing of restaurants and cafes. Virtually farmers can reinvent themselves as online food delivery business. It will promote uniformity of procedures among the integrated markets and ensure the availability of better farmers’ produce and allow them for competitive marketing.
Different companies provide farm management software and consumer-facing websites during this crisis where customers can buy products from local farms. Similarly, NGOs globally contact the farmers and then buy the food from them and donate the surplus to the people impacted by the crisis.