Modeling the Impact of Covid-19 on the Farm Produce Availability and Pricing in India

Niharika Prasanna Kumar
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 17  •  2022  •  pp. 035-065

This paper aims to analyze the availability and pricing of perishable farm produce before and during the lockdown restrictions imposed due to Covid-19. This paper also proposes machine learning and deep learning models to help the farmers decide on an appropriate market to sell their farm produce and get a fair price for their product.

Developing countries like India have regulated agricultural markets governed by country-specific protective laws like the Essential Commodities Act and the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act. These regulations restrict the sale of agricultural produce to a predefined set of local markets. Covid-19 pandemic led to a lockdown during the first half of 2020 which resulted in supply disruption and demand-supply mismatch of agricultural commodities at these local markets. These demand-supply dynamics led to disruptions in the pricing of the farm produce leading to a lower price realization for farmers. Hence it is essential to analyze the impact of this disruption on the pricing of farm produce at a granular level. Moreover, the farmers need a tool that guides them with the most suitable market/city/town to sell their farm produce to get a fair price.

One hundred and fifty thousand samples from the agricultural dataset, released by the Government of India, were used to perform statistical analysis and identify the supply disruptions as well as price disruptions of perishable agricultural produce. In addition, more than seventeen thousand samples were used to implement and train machine learning and deep learning models that can predict and guide the farmers about the appropriate market to sell their farm produce. In essence, the paper uses descriptive analytics to analyze the impact of COVID-19 on agricultural produce pricing. The paper explores the usage of prescriptive analytics to recommend an appropriate market to sell agricultural produce.

Five machine learning models based on Logistic Regression, K-Nearest Neighbors, Support Vector Machine, Random Forest, and Gradient Boosting, and three deep learning models based on Artificial Neural Networks were implemented. The performance of these models was compared using metrics like Precision, Recall, Accuracy, and F1-Score.

Among the five classification models, the Gradient Boosting classifier was the optimal classifier that achieved precision, recall, accuracy, and F1 score of 99%. Out of the three deep learning models, the Adam optimizer-based deep neural network achieved precision, recall, accuracy, and F1 score of 99%.

Gradient boosting technique and Adam-based deep learning model should be the preferred choice for analyzing agricultural pricing-related problems.

Ensemble learning techniques like Random Forest and Gradient boosting perform better than non-Ensemble classification techniques. Hyperparameter tuning is an essential step in developing these models and it improves the performance of the model.

Statistical analysis of the data revealed the true nature of demand and supply and price disruption. This analysis helps to assess the revenue impact borne by the farmers due to Covid-19. The machine learning and deep learning models help the farmers to get a better price for their crops. Though the da-taset used in this paper is related to India, the outcome of this research work applies to many developing countries that have similar regulated markets. Hence farmers from developing countries across the world can benefit from the outcome of this research work.

The machine learning and deep learning models were implemented and tested for markets in and around Bangalore. The model can be expanded to cover other markets within India.

Machine Learning, Classification, Logistic Regression, K-Nearest Neighbors, Support Vector Machine, Random Forest, Gradient Boosting, Deep Learning, Artificial Neural Network, Deep Neural Network, Covid-19, Agriculture
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