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    The post Indian Farmers Facing Affliction appeared first on The Borgen Project.

  • Home Gardens: Alleviating Hunger in Developing Countries

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    The post Home Gardens: Alleviating Hunger in Developing Countries appeared first on The Borgen Project.

  • Irrigation Could End Poverty

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    The post Irrigation Could End Poverty appeared first on The Borgen Project.

  • Essay 4: Farmers: The Key to Ending Global Hunger

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Costa Rica’s Pineapple Industry

Costa Rica Pineapple IndustryPineapples are popular around the world, but as a tropical fruit, they can only be grown in certain regions.

In Europe, almost 75 percent of pineapples are imported from Costa Rica, but Costa Rica’s pineapple industry is riddled with a number of social, environmental and health issues.

Social Issues

In Costa Rica’s pineapple industry, the average worker is paid the equivalent of $83 a week for over 80 hours of labor. When European supermarkets lowered the price of pineapples, the first expenses that industry decreased were workers’ wages.

Around 70 percent of plantation workers in Costa Rica are migrants, usually from Nicaragua, and as a result, they are exploited by their employers. Because many of the workers are not citizens of the country, they have a constant fear of deportation if they complain about working conditions.

Only about 2 percent of industry workers are members of a union. This is a result of continued discrimination since union members within Costa Rica’s pineapple industry are often assigned on positions that are lower paid or less desirable.

Women are often discriminated, and the find it hard to get a job or they even get fired when they become pregnant. This is due to the high costs of maternity leave and the fact that many women cannot work long hours due to obligations at home. In addition to these issues, there have also been reports of sexual abuse.

Health Risks and Environmental Degradation

Pineapples on these large plantations are grown as monoculture crops. This lack of diversity in farming results in high levels of pesticide and chemical use in order to maintain high yields.

Costa Rica’s pineapple industry is notorious for its use of toxic agrochemicals, such as Paraquat, that is illegal in the European Union and classified as likely carcinogenic in the United States.

Plantations are often sprayed with over 50 types of chemicals. While the law requires that individuals working with these chemicals work only six hours each day, many are working up to even 16 hours. These high levels of exposure raise significant health concerns for laborers.

In addition, there are negative environmental impacts as well. These chemicals contaminate the surrounding environment and seep into local water sources.

Many communities bordering pineapple plantations in Costa Rica are now forced to rely on government tanks for drinking water after reports of skin disease, respiratory problems, birth defects and other illnesses.

Aside from pesticides, the pineapple industry in Costa Rica triggers environmental degradation through malpractice causing soil erosion, sedimentation and deforestation.

Steps Towards Improvement

In response to the multitude of concerns raised by the Costa Rica’s pineapple industry, the government has implemented a five-year moratorium on new plantations and is creating legislation to limit pesticide usage.

As of 2008, Paraquat cannot be applied as an aerial spray, and some insecticides have been banned.

Companies have also made efforts to improve conditions for their employees and cover the costs of more sustainable practices.

One of the largest companies, Dole, has certified all of their plantations in Costa Rica in accordance to U.S. Fair Trade standards.

The Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), part of the Costa Rica Green Growth Program, invested $4 million in 2017 towards improving sustainability, increasing access to international markets and supporting rural communities.

The pineapple industry in Costa Rica struggles with low wages, long working hours, gender discrimination and toxic chemicals use.

Pressure to meet the high social and environmental standards of the global market, however, is sparking promising change.

Continued efforts towards better working conditions and sustainable practices are necessary to improve the lives of pineapple laborers and the surrounding communities.

– Georgia Orenstein

Photo: Flickr

The post Costa Rica’s Pineapple Industry appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Costa Rica’s Pineapple Industry

Costa Rica Pineapple IndustryPineapples are popular around the world, but as a tropical fruit, they can only be grown in certain regions.

In Europe, almost 75 percent of pineapples are imported from Costa Rica, but Costa Rica’s pineapple industry is riddled with a number of social, environmental and health issues.

Social Issues

In Costa Rica’s pineapple industry, the average worker is paid the equivalent of $83 a week for over 80 hours of labor. When European supermarkets lowered the price of pineapples, the first expenses that industry decreased were workers’ wages.

Around 70 percent of plantation workers in Costa Rica are migrants, usually from Nicaragua, and as a result, they are exploited by their employers. Because many of the workers are not citizens of the country, they have a constant fear of deportation if they complain about working conditions.

Only about 2 percent of industry workers are members of a union. This is a result of continued discrimination since union members within Costa Rica’s pineapple industry are often assigned on positions that are lower paid or less desirable.

Women are often discriminated, and the find it hard to get a job or they even get fired when they become pregnant. This is due to the high costs of maternity leave and the fact that many women cannot work long hours due to obligations at home. In addition to these issues, there have also been reports of sexual abuse.

Health Risks and Environmental Degradation

Pineapples on these large plantations are grown as monoculture crops. This lack of diversity in farming results in high levels of pesticide and chemical use in order to maintain high yields.

Costa Rica’s pineapple industry is notorious for its use of toxic agrochemicals, such as Paraquat, that is illegal in the European Union and classified as likely carcinogenic in the United States.

Plantations are often sprayed with over 50 types of chemicals. While the law requires that individuals working with these chemicals work only six hours each day, many are working up to even 16 hours. These high levels of exposure raise significant health concerns for laborers.

In addition, there are negative environmental impacts as well. These chemicals contaminate the surrounding environment and seep into local water sources.

Many communities bordering pineapple plantations in Costa Rica are now forced to rely on government tanks for drinking water after reports of skin disease, respiratory problems, birth defects and other illnesses.

Aside from pesticides, the pineapple industry in Costa Rica triggers environmental degradation through malpractice causing soil erosion, sedimentation and deforestation.

Steps Towards Improvement

In response to the multitude of concerns raised by the Costa Rica’s pineapple industry, the government has implemented a five-year moratorium on new plantations and is creating legislation to limit pesticide usage.

As of 2008, Paraquat cannot be applied as an aerial spray, and some insecticides have been banned.

Companies have also made efforts to improve conditions for their employees and cover the costs of more sustainable practices.

One of the largest companies, Dole, has certified all of their plantations in Costa Rica in accordance to U.S. Fair Trade standards.

The Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), part of the Costa Rica Green Growth Program, invested $4 million in 2017 towards improving sustainability, increasing access to international markets and supporting rural communities.

The pineapple industry in Costa Rica struggles with low wages, long working hours, gender discrimination and toxic chemicals use.

Pressure to meet the high social and environmental standards of the global market, however, is sparking promising change.

Continued efforts towards better working conditions and sustainable practices are necessary to improve the lives of pineapple laborers and the surrounding communities.

– Georgia Orenstein

Photo: Flickr

The post Costa Rica’s Pineapple Industry appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Agricultural Development in the Philippines

Agricultural Development in the PhilippinesSoutheastern Asian country of the Philippines faces many problems in the agricultural sector. This sector employs around 37 percent of people in the country, being a major source of income for many households.

Yet, this sector’s share in the country’s GDP has gone down over the years, showing a decline. The Philippines government is also decreasing funding on agriculture. Starting in 2011, agriculture only makes up about 4 percent of the national budget. This makes agricultural development in the Philippines questionable.

To make matters worse, the Philippines is notoriously vulnerable to natural disasters, facing around 20 typhoons each year. For farmers, one typhoon or tropical storm could be enough to wipe out the entire crop. Starting over with the work can be expensive and time-consuming. For example, coconut farmers need up to 10 years for their crops to grow. The lack of financial support coupled with frequent natural disasters leaves farmers in a compromising state.

As a result, 57 percent of agricultural households are impoverished. In comparison, non-agricultural households are three times less impoverished. This rate is even worse in agricultural-dependant areas, and reach up to 74 percent in Central Visayas.

Government’s Role in Agricultural Development in the Philippines

For these farmers, high poverty rates can be attributed to underemployment. Almost 70 percent of underemployed Filipinos work in agriculture, forestry or fishery. While many farmers and agricultural workers are searching for employment, the Government of the Philippines seems to be moving away from reliance on local farmers, turning to imports instead.

In 2016, the Philippines was the biggest rice importer in the world, with close to 2.45 million tons of imported rice. The lowered funding and employment of Filipino farmers put more than 12 million people who work in the agricultural sector at risk. Evidently, more support needs to be given to farmers in order to reduce poverty. Consequently, many poverty-fighting organizations target agricultural development in the Philippines.

IRRI and IPAC

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), for example, has developed a rice variety that can survive natural disasters, especially floods. With funding from the Gates Foundation, the IRRI hopes to increase rice yields by 50 percent in the next 10 years. Based on an Indian rice variety called Swarma, this climate-smart rice has an additional flood-resistant gene.

The rice was able to grow even after two weeks of flooding, whereas most rice varieties would not survive more than four days. This is a huge advancement that can attribute to the lingering agricultural issues in the Philippines.

The Philipinnes government is also working towards agricultural development by implementing the Inclusive Partnerships for Agricultural Competitiveness (IPAC) Project. Funded partially by the World Bank, the project works on expanding the capacity of small farmers to make a living.

Through commercial agriculture and improved infrastructure, small-holder farmers can increase their incomes and slowly become more self-reliant. Developing irrigation systems in rural farming lands which is an important aspect of the project, makes farming more efficient for the people of the Philippines. The project plays an important role in reducing poverty, with 20 percent of the beneficiaries being poor farmers.

IFAC Projects in the Philippines

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has funded 16 projects that aid farmers from the Philippines. One project, Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (ConVERGE), helps Filipinos develop their farms into larger businesses by utilizing value chains.

IFAD provides investment and business plans to 55,000 farming households in the poorest parts of the Philippines. Through educating and guiding farmers, especially with the use of sustainable farming methods, IFAD hopes to increase their incomes and reduce poverty in the Philippines.

Through the combined efforts of organizations and the government, the issue of poverty among farmers in the Philippines is being addressed. Still, more work needs to be done in the field of agriculture development so that poverty rates in the country can begin to decrease.

– Massarath Fatima
Photo: Flickr

The post Agricultural Development in the Philippines appeared first on The Borgen Project.

EARTH University: Students Alleviating Poverty

EARTH UniversityEscuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda, otherwise known by its acronym EARTH University, is located in the Limon province of Costa Rica. Situated in the middle of beautiful, sprawling jungles, the university focuses on teaching sustainable development and entrepreneurship for students to apply in their communities. EARTH University’s vision statement reads: “Our actions are mission-driven to alleviate poverty, promote social justice and build a future where our communities achieve sustainable and shared prosperity.” Their aim is to alleviate global poverty one person at a time. Below are 5 facts about EARTH University, the work they do and the innovative students changing the world.

5 Facts About EARTH University

  1. The university offers a large selection of scholarship opportunities for students from rural communities across the world. The student body is composed of less than 500 students, and 70 percent of the students have received full scholarships. This allows their outreach to impact and lay the groundwork in disadvantaged communities, as well as create ways to alleviate poverty without relying on charity and donations. This leads to a more independent way of sustainability.
  2. Due to their focus on agriculture, location amidst fertile jungle soil and the inheritance of a banana plantation, EARTH University is able to sustain development through profits from these sources. Grown in eco-friendly and sustainable ways, the university’s bananas are known as some of the best in the world and are distributed in Whole Food locations across the United States and Canada. 
  3. EARTH focuses on a hands-on education backed by the notion of “learning by doing.” Students are encouraged to work with their hands and are all responsible for the continued thriving of the university and its resources. For example, the student cafeteria is stocked with sustainable meat and produce grown by students on EARTH University farms.
  4. Due to the level of dedication committed by each student and faculty member, students are able to pinpoint where the agricultural sector is lacking and how to improve upon its structures. More importantly, students are able to apply this skill in their home communities and create a more efficient type of agriculture suited to their environment.
  5. The structure of EARTH University is one that is unique and efficient. Universities around the world are beginning to create similar structures that place a higher focus on social and environmental sustainability. Furthermore, study abroad and internship opportunities are offered to anyone interested in the field. Students and interns who take advantage of such an experience will be able to apply new ideas to the world of environmental entrepreneurship.

EARTH University is responsible for creating a new generation of environmental entrepreneurs who are able to apply their new skills where needed. When students are able to implement their skills in their own communities, whether these communities are disadvantaged or not, prosperity is created. Through their students, EARTH University is contributing to the downsizing of poverty. This type of structure has been proven time and again as students’ innovative ideas and skills spread, decreasing poverty.  

– Trelawny Robinson
Photo: Flickr

The post EARTH University: Students Alleviating Poverty appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Sudan

Top 10 Facts about Poverty in SudanLocated in Northeast Africa, Sudan is the third largest country of the African continent with a current population of more than 41 million people. The biggest problem country is facing is the poverty rate that is currently about 46.5 percent and continues to increase. This does not only affect men and women living in Sudan but children as well. In the text below, 10 facts about poverty in Sudan are presented.

Facts about Poverty in Sudan

  1. In 2018, about 7.1 million people in Sudan are currently in need of humanitarian assistance, while 5.5 million experience food insecurity and are in danger of starvation, according to the USAID. The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) also reports that almost 50 percent of refugees in the country are experiencing food insecurity. Because of this, malnutrition rates continue to increase, growing not only above the emergency threshold, but even higher. Around 32 percent of Sudanese children are chronically malnourished.
  2. Sudan’s climate conditions such as soil erosion, desertification and recurrent droughts, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), are also causing low and variable productivity since agriculture produces 40 percent of GDP and employs over 70 percent of the labor force in rural areas of Sudan.
  3. USAID states that the consequences of the economic crisis are also fuel shortages, currency depreciation and high inflation levels. These issues have increased transportation costs and food prices, obstructing humanitarian operations in Sudan. The shortages could also increase not only food production costs but curb yields in upcoming harvest seasons.
  4. Almost 550,000 breastfeeding mothers and babies in 2010 were lacking needed additional nutritious foods. In 2015, maternal mortality rate involved 311 deaths per 100,000 live births while the mortality rate for children was 65.1 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  5. Sudan remains a high-indebted country that has accumulated sizeable external arrears. IFAD states that by the end of 2014, Sudan’s external debt was $43.6 billion in nominal terms, and around 85 percent of this amount was in arrears.
  6. In response to the rise of food insecurity and hunger in Sudan, USAID happens to be the largest donor of emergency food assistance to Sudan. The Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with WFP and UNICEF to provide emergency assistance to those in need. The FFP assistance currently supports more than 2.5 million food-insecure people in Sudan per year.
  7. According to the UNICEF, 3.2 million people were internally displaced, including almost 1.9 million children in 2016. UNICEF provided access to the drinking water supply through operation, maintenance and water chlorination services to about one million displaced persons and refugees.
  8. IFAD has prioritized Sudan for more than 20 years and their loans help increase agricultural production through environmental practices and distribution of improved seeds. Their activities include promoting land reform, harmonizing resources for nomads and farmers as well as promoting equitable distribution of resources. They also ensure representation of both women and youth in grass-roots organizations and guarantee access to microfinance for women. This is very important since 24.7 percent of women in Sudan are unemployed.
  9. WFP, thanks to the E.U. Humanitarian Aid, has been able to provide five months of nutritional support to 86,600 children under the age of five and to pregnant and nursing women in 2017.
  10. Global Partnership for Education (GPE) started the educational program that began in July 2013 and continues to improve the learning environment in Sudan, providing and distributing almost six million textbooks and strengthening the education system. Almost 1,000 additional conventional and community classrooms have been built through this program which benefits over 52,000 students. Over 3,400 communities and 4,800 students in the country also received school grants.

These top 10 facts about poverty in Sudan bring not only the awareness of the people’s lives but reflects how much change and development is being brought to the country. These issues can be solved and poverty rates can be improved.

Organizations, including the few listed in the text above, will continue to develop and come together, bringing not only hope to the people but also dedication, ensuring a better future for the people in the country.

– Charlene Frett
Photo: Flickr

The post Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Sudan appeared first on The Borgen Project.

EARTH University: Students Alleviating Poverty

EARTH UniversityEscuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda, otherwise known by its acronym EARTH University, is located in the Limon province of Costa Rica. Situated in the middle of beautiful, sprawling jungles, the university focuses on teaching sustainable development and entrepreneurship for students, to be applied in their communities. Their vision statement reads: “Our actions are mission-driven to alleviate poverty, promote social justice and build a future where our communities achieve sustainable and shared prosperity.

Five Facts About EARTH University

Below are five facts about EARTH University, the work they do and the innovative students changing the world.

  1. The university offers a large selection of scholarship opportunities for students from rural communities across the world. The student body is composed of under 500 students, and 70 percent of the students have received full scholarships. This allows their outreach to impact and lay the groundwork in disadvantaged communities and create a way of alleviating poverty without relying on charity and donations. It allows for a more independent way of sustainability.
  2. Due to their focus on agriculture, their location amid fertile jungle soil and their inherited banana plantation, EARTH University is able to sustain its development through these profits. Grown in eco-friendly and sustainable ways, their bananas are known as some of the best in the world and are distributed in Whole Food locations across the United States and Canada. This income sustains the university and their scholarship programs.
  3. EARTH University focuses on hands-on education backed by the notion of “learning by doing.” Students are encouraged to work with their hands and are all responsible for the continued success of the university and its resources. For example, the student cafeteria is stocked with sustainable meat and produce grown by students on EARTH University farms.
  4. Due to the level of dedication committed by each student and faculty member, students are able to pinpoint where the agricultural sector is lacking and how to improve its structures. More importantly, students are able to apply this skill in their home communities and are able to create a more efficient type of agriculture suited for their environment.
  5. The structure of EARTH University is unique and efficient. Universities are beginning to create similar structures to those of EARTH, focusing more on social and environmental sustainability. Furthermore, study abroad and internship opportunities are offered to anyone interested in the field, allowing students and interns to apply new ideas to the world of environmental entrepreneurship.

When students are able to implement their skills in their own communities, disadvantaged or not, they are able to create prosperity. They are contributing to the downsizing of poverty. This type of structure has been proven to work, and as their innovative ideas and skills spread, poverty decreases.  

– Trelawny Robinson
Photo: Flickr

The post EARTH University: Students Alleviating Poverty appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Sudan

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in SudanLocated in Northeast Africa, Sudan is the third largest country on the continent with a current population of more than 41 million people. The biggest problem in the country is the poverty rate that is about 46.5 percent and this number continues to increase. This affects many men and women living in the country, but children as well. In the text below top 10 facts about poverty in Sudan are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Sudan

  1. In 2018, about 7.1 million people in Sudan are in need of humanitarian assistance, while 5.5 million experience food insecurity and are in danger of starvation, according to USAID. The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) reports that almost 50 percent of refugees in Sudan are experiencing food insecurity as well. Because of this, malnutrition rates continue to increase, growing not only above the emergency threshold, but also higher in Sudanese children as 32 percent are chronically malnourished.
  2. Sudan’s climate conditions such as soil erosion, desertification and recurrent droughts are causing low and variable productivity, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). This is very important since agriculture produces 40 percent of the country’s GDP and employs over 70 percent of the labor force in rural areas of Sudan.
  3. USAID states that there are also fuel shortages, currency depreciation and high inflation levels resulting from Sudan’s economic crisis. These issues have increased transportation costs and food prices, obstructing humanitarian operations in Sudan. The shortages could also increase not only food production costs but curb yields in upcoming harvest seasons.
  4. Almost 550,000 breastfeeding mothers and babies in 2010 were lacking needed additional nutritious foods. In 2015, the mortality rate for mothers was 311 deaths per 100,000, while the mortality rate for children was 65.1 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  5. Sudan remains a high-indebted country that has accumulated sizeable external arrears. IFAD states that by the end of 2014, Sudan’s external debt was $43.6 billion in nominal terms, and out of this amount, about 85 percent was in arrears.
  6. In response to the rise of food insecurity and hunger in Sudan, USAID is the largest donor of emergency food assistance to the country. The Office of Food for Peace (FFP) who also partners with WFP and UNICEF to provide emergency assistance to those in need. The FFP assistance currently supports more than 2.5 million food-insecure people in Sudan each year.
  7. Although there were 3.2 million people internally displaced, including almost 1.9 million children, UNICEF achieved to provide access to drinking water through operation, maintenance and water chlorination services to around one million displaced persons and refugees.
  8. IFAD has prioritized Sudan for more than 20 years and their loans help increase agricultural production through environmental practices and distribution of improved seeds. Their activities include promoting land reform, harmonizing resources for nomads and farmers as well as promoting equitable distribution of resources. They also ensure representation of both women and youth in grass-roots organizations, and they guarantee access to microfinance for women. This is especially important since 24.7 percent of women in Sudan are unemployed.
  9. WFP, thanks to the E.U. Humanitarian Aid, has been able to provide five months of nutritional support to 86,600 children under the age of five and to pregnant and nursing women in 2017.
  10. According to Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the United States GPE program that began in July 2013 continues to improve the learning environment in Sudan, providing and distributing almost six million textbooks and strengthening the education system. In 2016, because of this program, the number of students enrolled in the Basic Education Recovery Project was 5,873,309, more than 950 additional conventional and community classrooms have been built which benefits over 52,000 students. Over 3,400 communities and 4,800 students in the country also received school grants.

These top 10 facts about poverty in Sudan brings not only awareness of the lives of these people but also reflect that many positive changes and development are being brought to the country. Organizations, including the few listed within the facts presented above, will continue to develop and come together bringing not only hope to the people but dedication as well, ensuring a better future for the country.

– Charlene Frett
Photo: Flickr

The post Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Sudan appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Cautious Hope: Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Kazakhstan

Top 10 Facts about Poverty in KazakhstanKazakhstan, a country of 18 million inhabitants located between Russia and China, has been battling poverty since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The following top 10 facts about poverty in Kazakhstan show that despite the country’s independent economy being so young, there is a lot to be hopeful for about the future of the Kazakh economy.

This hope, in turn, leads to more programs and opportunities that help to alleviate poverty; however, Kazakhstan’s economic infrastructure still remains a somewhat volatile environment — despite booming energy and agricultural industries — due to corruption and over-dependence on global energy markets.

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Kazakhstan

  1. Kazakhstan has a large agriculture market and is the sixth largest wheat producer in the world. The agriculture industry employs nearly 18 percent of the nation’s working population but only yields between 5-7 percent of their GDP. Nearly 80 percent of cultivation is done with machinery near the end of its lifecycle — local production of tractors, combines and other farm machinery are mostly non-existent, causing a large tab for importing expensive farming equipment mostly from Russia. This low return on investment (ROI) for Kazakh farmers leaves little to pay a significant percentage of its workforce; this lack can then leaves employees in the agricultural industry near or below the poverty line.
  2. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Agriculture launched a $158 million initiative to establish cooperatives to support small to medium-sized farms. These coops aim to help offset the low ROI for small, rural farmers by helping with buying new machinery, storage and transport products, veterinary services and other business costs.
  3. Kazakhstan is the world’s third largest producer of oil. Oil sales account for roughly a quarter of Kazakhstan’s GDP and about 60 percent of its total exports. The nation also has massive reserves of natural gas, coal and uranium. Astana, Kazakhstan was host city to EXPO 2017 for Future Energies. Due to Kazakhstan’s over-dependence on sales of oil and material reserves, its economy is still largely at the mercy of worldwide energy prices. The sharp decline of oil prices in 2014 had such a widespread effect on the Kazakh economy that its currency — tenge — was devalued by 23 percent by 2015.
  4. Chevron invested $36.8 billion for an expansion to Kazakhstan’s Tengiz oil field. The massive Kashagan field also began production in October 2016 after years of delays and $55 billion in development costs. Kazakhstan had a 10.5 percent increase in oil production in 2017, helping the economy climb back after the spike in oil prices in 2014.
  5. The poverty rate in Kazakhstan is actually quite low. Those living below the $1.90/day rate in Kazakhstan was estimated to be 2.6 percent in 2016, and the unemployment rate was estimated to be 5 percent in 2017, according to the CIA World Fact Book. These numbers, though promising, are quite deceptive. Kazakhstan’s annual income per capita in 2017 was only $3,010, which equals about $8.25 per day.
  6. Corruption is rampant in Kazakhstan. Companies cite corruption as being the number one constraint for doing business in Kazakhstan, according to a 2016 GAN Business Anti-Corruption report. Earlier this year, former Kazakh Economy Minister, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, was sentenced to 10 years on corruption charges. This comes just three years after a case was brought against 21 Kazakh public officials on corruption-related charges.
  7. Kazakhstan suffers from a complex form of regional poverty disparity. Since Kazakhstan is quite young, the government is still underdeveloped in rural areas. The U.N. is working with Kazakhstan to address this phenomenon. Developing infrastructure and education opportunities in poor, rural areas is just a few examples of how they are addressing the problem.
  8. Kazakhstan has achieved nearly 100 percent literacy rate. Kazakhstan has an estimated 99.8 percent literacy rate and a school life expectancy (the total number of years a student can expect to go to school) of 15 years — from primary schools to tertiary educations (such as universities) and trade schools. Kazakhstan currently has a $67 million loan from the World Bank Group for modernizing education. The objectives of this loan are to improve curricular standards, increase learning outcomes in rural and disadvantaged schools and increase citizen engagement.
  9. The World Economic Forum ranked Kazakhstan 57th out of 144 countries in its 2017 Global Competitiveness Rankings. This ranking represents a falling of four spots from the previous report. The cause of this decline in ranking, and the “most problematic factors for doing business” with Kazakhstan, according to the report, include lack of access to funding, corruption and an inadequately educated workforce.
  10. Kazakhstan has a thriving NGO sector. One such NGO is Wonder Foundation, based out of the U.K. Wonder is a charity dedicated to helping girls, women and their families access education and support needed to defeat poverty. The organization is currently working on helping young women gain access to skills, educations and rights in Almaty and the surrounding area.

A Young, But Mighty Nation 

These top 10 facts about poverty in Kazakhstan prove that poverty is not an insurmountable problem for the Central Asian state. The country’s GDP is steadily climbing while the nation works to be a major player in the oil and raw materials markets.

Kazakhstan also works to diversify their trading portfolio, enacting state programs to bolster secondary industries in the country and improve working and living conditions for their residents.

Economic sustainability is a slow and steady process, and Kazakhstan is heading in the right direction. At just 27 years old, these top 10 facts about poverty in Kazakhstan are indicative of a young country that has the potential to be at the forefront of world oil and agriculture markets and, someday, a significant participant in the global economy.

– Nicholas Hodges
Photo: Flickr


The post Cautious Hope: Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Kazakhstan appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Cautious Hope: Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Kazakhstan

Top 10 Facts about Poverty in KazakhstanKazakhstan, a country of 18 million inhabitants located between Russia and China, has been battling poverty since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The following top 10 facts about poverty in Kazakhstan show that despite the country’s independent economy being so young, there is a lot to be hopeful for about the future of the Kazakh economy.

This hope, in turn, leads to more programs and opportunities that help to alleviate poverty; however, Kazakhstan’s economic infrastructure still remains a somewhat volatile environment — despite booming energy and agricultural industries — due to corruption and over-dependence on global energy markets.

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Kazakhstan

  1. Kazakhstan has a large agriculture market and is the sixth largest wheat producer in the world. The agriculture industry employs nearly 18 percent of the nation’s working population but only yields between 5-7 percent of their GDP. Nearly 80 percent of cultivation is done with machinery near the end of its lifecycle — local production of tractors, combines and other farm machinery are mostly non-existent, causing a large tab for importing expensive farming equipment mostly from Russia. This low return on investment (ROI) for Kazakh farmers leaves little to pay a significant percentage of its workforce; this lack can then leaves employees in the agricultural industry near or below the poverty line.
  2. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Agriculture launched a $158 million initiative to establish cooperatives to support small to medium-sized farms. These coops aim to help offset the low ROI for small, rural farmers by helping with buying new machinery, storage and transport products, veterinary services and other business costs.
  3. Kazakhstan is the world’s third largest producer of oil. Oil sales account for roughly a quarter of Kazakhstan’s GDP and about 60 percent of its total exports. The nation also has massive reserves of natural gas, coal and uranium. Astana, Kazakhstan was host city to EXPO 2017 for Future Energies. Due to Kazakhstan’s over-dependence on sales of oil and material reserves, its economy is still largely at the mercy of worldwide energy prices. The sharp decline of oil prices in 2014 had such a widespread effect on the Kazakh economy that its currency — tenge — was devalued by 23 percent by 2015.
  4. Chevron invested $36.8 billion for an expansion to Kazakhstan’s Tengiz oil field. The massive Kashagan field also began production in October 2016 after years of delays and $55 billion in development costs. Kazakhstan had a 10.5 percent increase in oil production in 2017, helping the economy climb back after the spike in oil prices in 2014.
  5. The poverty rate in Kazakhstan is actually quite low. Those living below the $1.90/day rate in Kazakhstan was estimated to be 2.6 percent in 2016, and the unemployment rate was estimated to be 5 percent in 2017, according to the CIA World Fact Book. These numbers, though promising, are quite deceptive. Kazakhstan’s annual income per capita in 2017 was only $3,010, which equals about $8.25 per day.
  6. Corruption is rampant in Kazakhstan. Companies cite corruption as being the number one constraint for doing business in Kazakhstan, according to a 2016 GAN Business Anti-Corruption report. Earlier this year, former Kazakh Economy Minister, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, was sentenced to 10 years on corruption charges. This comes just three years after a case was brought against 21 Kazakh public officials on corruption-related charges.
  7. Kazakhstan suffers from a complex form of regional poverty disparity. Since Kazakhstan is quite young, the government is still underdeveloped in rural areas. The U.N. is working with Kazakhstan to address this phenomenon. Developing infrastructure and education opportunities in poor, rural areas is just a few examples of how they are addressing the problem.
  8. Kazakhstan has achieved nearly 100 percent literacy rate. Kazakhstan has an estimated 99.8 percent literacy rate and a school life expectancy (the total number of years a student can expect to go to school) of 15 years — from primary schools to tertiary educations (such as universities) and trade schools. Kazakhstan currently has a $67 million loan from the World Bank Group for modernizing education. The objectives of this loan are to improve curricular standards, increase learning outcomes in rural and disadvantaged schools and increase citizen engagement.
  9. The World Economic Forum ranked Kazakhstan 57th out of 144 countries in its 2017 Global Competitiveness Rankings. This ranking represents a falling of four spots from the previous report. The cause of this decline in ranking, and the “most problematic factors for doing business” with Kazakhstan, according to the report, include lack of access to funding, corruption and an inadequately educated workforce.
  10. Kazakhstan has a thriving NGO sector. One such NGO is Wonder Foundation, based out of the U.K. Wonder is a charity dedicated to helping girls, women and their families access education and support needed to defeat poverty. The organization is currently working on helping young women gain access to skills, educations and rights in Almaty and the surrounding area.

A Young, But Mighty Nation 

These top 10 facts about poverty in Kazakhstan prove that poverty is not an insurmountable problem for the Central Asian state. The country’s GDP is steadily climbing while the nation works to be a major player in the oil and raw materials markets.

Kazakhstan also works to diversify their trading portfolio, enacting state programs to bolster secondary industries in the country and improve working and living conditions for their residents.

Economic sustainability is a slow and steady process, and Kazakhstan is heading in the right direction. At just 27 years old, these top 10 facts about poverty in Kazakhstan are indicative of a young country that has the potential to be at the forefront of world oil and agriculture markets and, someday, a significant participant in the global economy.

– Nicholas Hodges
Photo: Flickr


The post Cautious Hope: Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Kazakhstan appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Why Agriculture in Nigeria is Important

Agriculture in NigeriaAgriculture is at the center of the Nigerian economy, providing the main source of livelihood for the majority of Nigerians. The farming sector of this West African country employs about 70 percent of the entire country’s labor force. Nigeria’s small farms produce 80 percent of the total food and 33 percent of this country’s land is under cultivation for this purpose. This is the leading African country in farming because it has the highest levels of productivity and profitability in this particular sector. Agriculture in Nigeria is the foundation of the economy, as keeps the people stable in what they do.

Two Reasons of Agriculture Importance

  1. Nigeria is twice the size of Zimbabwe and South Africa combined and has over 200 million people. The people of Nigeria depend on produce from the local farms for their daily meals as more than 80 percent of Nigerians buy their farm produce from the market. This country is at a huge advantage in terms of agriculture profitability because of the huge demand for farm produce.
  2. Nigeria has the benefit of having large stretches of fertile land available to cultivate. This country has one of the largest expanses of land in Africa with more than 900 thousand square kilometers and 70 percent of it is able to be cultivated to produce sustenance for the population of Nigeria. This land provides Nigeria with practically an unlimited source of farming food, providing agricultural produces and jobs for the people.

Top Two Most Profitable Types of Farming in Nigeria

  1. Nigeria is Africa’s largest rise consumer. It is mainly small-scale farmers who produce rice, sell 80 percent of their total production and only consume 20 percent of their product. This creates a huge market for the consumption of rice by way of the vast population of Nigeria, as well as the larger continent of Africa.
  2. Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world. This West African country produces cassava for 20 percent of the world, 34 percent of Africa and 46 percent of West Africa. Despite the fact that Nigeria has an enormous market for cassava, it is mostly grown for family consumption and local sale by smallholders. However, this field faces many challenges because of outdated technology and inadequate storage facilities. These challenges cause agricultural productivity to be low and postharvest losses and waste to be high.

In order to make Nigeria’s agriculture productivity more sufficient, the government and private sector need to develop ways to enhance cassava’s competitiveness in the international market and improve the efficiency of domestic rice production.

Livestock development is also an important aspect of Nigeria’s agriculture. The domestic production of livestock products is far below the national demand, which causes large imports of livestock and livestock products. The livestock sector can create new opportunities for farmers and provide more affordable and healthier diets for future generations.

Through farming and livestock development Nigeria has a stronghold on its agriculture productivity. With the help of the leaders in this West African country, livestock and farming productivity can hopefully improve enormously. Agriculture in Nigeria is so important to the economy and people’s daily lives that, despite its setbacks, it will inevitably prosper.

Megan Maxwell
Photo: Flickr

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Costa Rica’s Pineapple Industry

Pineapples are popular around the world, but as a tropical fruit, they can only be grown in certain regions. In Europe, almost 75 percent of pineapples are imported from Costa Rica, but Costa Rica’s pineapple industry is riddled with a number of social, environmental and health issues. Social Issues In Costa Rica’s pineapple industry, the […]

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Costa Rica’s Pineapple Industry

Pineapples are popular around the world, but as a tropical fruit, they can only be grown in certain regions. In Europe, almost 75 percent of pineapples are imported from Costa Rica, but Costa Rica’s pineapple industry is riddled with a number of social, environmental and health issues. Social Issues In Costa Rica’s pineapple industry, the […]

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Agricultural Development in the Philippines

Southeastern Asian country of the Philippines faces many problems in the agricultural sector. This sector employs around 37 percent of people in the country, being a major source of income for many households. Yet, this sector’s share in the country’s GDP has gone down over the years, showing a decline. The Philippines government is also […]

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EARTH University: Students Alleviating Poverty

Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda, otherwise known by its acronym EARTH University, is located in the Limon province of Costa Rica. Situated in the middle of beautiful, sprawling jungles, the university focuses on teaching sustainable development and entrepreneurship for students to apply in their communities. EARTH University’s vision statement reads: “Our actions […]

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Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Sudan

Located in Northeast Africa, Sudan is the third largest country of the African continent with a current population of more than 41 million people. The biggest problem country is facing is the poverty rate that is currently about 46.5 percent and continues to increase. This does not only affect men and women living in Sudan […]

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EARTH University: Students Alleviating Poverty

Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda, otherwise known by its acronym EARTH University, is located in the Limon province of Costa Rica. Situated in the middle of beautiful, sprawling jungles, the university focuses on teaching sustainable development and entrepreneurship for students, to be applied in their communities. Their vision statement reads: “Our actions […]

The post EARTH University: Students Alleviating Poverty appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Sudan

Located in Northeast Africa, Sudan is the third largest country on the continent with a current population of more than 41 million people. The biggest problem in the country is the poverty rate that is about 46.5 percent and this number continues to increase. This affects many men and women living in the country, but […]

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Cautious Hope: Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan, a country of 18 million inhabitants located between Russia and China, has been battling poverty since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The following top 10 facts about poverty in Kazakhstan show that despite the country’s independent economy being so young, there is a lot to be hopeful for about the future […]

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Cautious Hope: Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan, a country of 18 million inhabitants located between Russia and China, has been battling poverty since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The following top 10 facts about poverty in Kazakhstan show that despite the country’s independent economy being so young, there is a lot to be hopeful for about the future […]

The post Cautious Hope: Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Kazakhstan appeared first on The Borgen Project.

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Why Agriculture in Nigeria Is Important

Agriculture is at the center of the Nigerian economy, providing the main source of livelihood for the majority of Nigerians. The farming sector of this West African country employs about 70 percent of the entire country’s labor force. Nigeria’s small farms produce 80 percent of the total food and 33 percent of this country’s land […]

The post Why Agriculture in Nigeria Is Important appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Learn More