The pandemic gave them more time to focus on developing new products and enriching their existing offerings. Photo credit: MENDELU.

Brno, Jan 18 (BD) – An investigation by scientists from the Faculty of Regional Development and International Studies of Mendel University (FRRMS MENDELU) on the economic impacts for small farmers during the Covid pandemic found there was increased interest in organic and local products, which enabled these businesses to weather the pandemic in reasonably good shape.

Although the demand for products fell during this time, farmers pulled through by selling their products online or directly from the yard. “The situation forced them to use new channels of promotion; they set up e-shops, used social networks and other internet platforms,” said Veronika Svatošová, a member of the FRRMS MENDELU Institute of Regional and Business Economics. The pandemic also gave them more time to focus on developing new products and enriching their existing offerings. 

“Customers became more interested in what products they buy; they focus more on fresh, organic, and quality food,” Svatošová explained. This was reflected in the higher demand for such products in the second wave of the pandemic as customers became more aware of the health benefits of farm products.

As part of the research, the researchers spoke with representatives of 86 family agricultural businesses across the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. The research was conducted in the form of in-depth interviews, which included topics related to human resources, supplier relations, changes in production, and distribution channels and strategies. 

Among other findings, the researchers found that among Czech winemakers, the demand for wine from private customers rose, which compensated for losses from the hospitality industry and supplying wine to restaurants. A similar pattern was seen among beer producers. 

The investigation concluded that the economic impact of the pandemic on the farmers was relatively moderate, and that most managed to survive the crisis alone without state support. The negative effects were seen more in their other services, such as hospitality or accommodation services, but these also returned to normal after the pandemic.

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