Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria
The country of Nigeria is located on the Gulf of Guinea on the western side of Africa. Two major rivers run through the country. The Benue River is located on the east and it flows into the western river, the Niger River. With two large rivers flowing through their sub-Sharan climate, one might presume that agriculture would be a major source of income for the country. However, this is yet not the case.
Agriculture in Nigeria
Agriculture and, more recently, sustainable agriculture in Nigeria is an industry that employs most of the country’s population. The number of people employed in this sector is around 70 percent. However, it only makes up 22 percent of the nation’s GDP. This is indicated mostly through Nigeria’s unemployment rate that sits at 70 percent. Things may change soon. Various initiatives, speeches, articles and organizations in Nigeria all point to a bright future for sustainable agriculture in Nigeria and especially the future for the younger generations working for it.
Ade Adefeko’s Speech
In 2018, Ade Adefeko gave a speech to the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an economic body set-up to aid business relations between ex-French colonies and France. Adefeko, who is currently Head of Corporate and Government Relations at OLAM Nigeria, outlined many important factors that hinder the growth of sustainable agriculture in Nigeria. He pointed especially to a lack of government funding. The funding has lowered down to just 1 percent of the total budget in 2018 from previously recorded 5 percent in 2008.
He also blames the lack of mechanization and techniques. Techniques are especially important for sustainable agriculture. Access to irrigation system is very hard for small farmers in Nigeria. This is rather odd having in mind that there is plenty of water from Nigeria’s rivers. To simplify his solution for the problem in two parts, Ade Adefeko would like to see a streamlined approach of land and water distribution from the government.
OLAM’s Role in Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria
He would also like to see his employer OLAM, an international agricultural organization that supports sustainable agriculture in Nigeria and all around the globe, take even more active role in aiding Nigeria’s government and people. He would like to see OLAM continue to help the government store any excess crop yield. The other part of his suggestion is educating farmers so that they are more productive and can sell their crops more efficiently. Ade Adefeko and OLAM are not the only ones who see education of the population as the best way to understand the importance of sustainable agriculture in Nigeria and to provide solutions for this issue.
YISA and its Mission
The Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (YISA) Nigeria is taking a very active role in helping men, women, children and senior citizens to become better acquainted with sustainable agriculture. YISA’s mission is to take sustainable agriculture to the next step and to make it profitable. The organization’s goal is to make students of agriculture in Nigeria business savvy. They also want to rebrand agriculture and make it a popular and productive vocation. YISA runs five major programs that push this agenda in Nigeria. These programmes are designed to educate, corrects, encourage, inspire and motivate young people.
The push for sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria may eventually find itself at the precipice of an important decision. Should the people use the new found power for the country, keeping it home and small, or do they give it completely to large agriculture firms? Both of these choices have positives and negatives. The important thing is that sustainable agriculture in Nigeria can become so successful that it can make that choice for itself one day.
– Nicholas Anthony DeMarco
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Sustainable Agriculture in Senegal
The story of sustainable agriculture in Senegal is one of success that should be used as a guide for other countries. Between 1960 and the early 1980s, Senegal used monocropping, a dangerous practice where only one crop is grown year after year, leaching more and more nutrients from the ground. This eventually left the soil void of essential nutrients. When the area was hit by drought in the early 1980s, the land was unable to cope, and the country suffered from food shortages. However, over the last 20 years, Senegal has been using sustainable agriculture to bring back fertility to the soil.
In 1989, the United States government began working with Rodale International to come up with a plan to restore the soil. The plan was to use crop rotation. Every three years, one of four different plants would be sown in the soil. Each plant would only take certain nutrients from the ground and replace others. One of these plants was peanuts, the plant that caused the problem in the first place, and the second was millet. Both are now the main agricultural exports of Senegal. The other two crops in rotation are cowpeas and cassava.
The International Production and Pest Management Program
The United States and international companies are not the only organizations helping improve sustainable agriculture in Senegal. Senegal has been part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) IPPM program since 2001. The IPPM (Integrated Production and Pest Management Program) is dedicated to responsible pest control practices. The program touches on many points to control pests; however, its most important lesson is the responsible use of pesticides.
Pesticides remain a continuous problem in Senegal and most of the world due to their overuse. Pesticides stay in the water table, contaminating drinking water. They also hurt the soil since the chemicals build up over time and stay on the crops. When consumed pesticides are harmful to humans and animals. This is not to say that they are not sometimes necessary, but the IPPM suggests a less-is-more approach.
Private foundations are also doing their part. Syngenta, a Swiss-based based agricultural firm, has a foundation called the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. The foundation works with public and private sector partners in order to finance innovations in sustainable agriculture. They also work with the World Bank, USAID and both the Swiss and Australian governments.
Since 2014, Syngenta has been promoting sustainable agriculture in Senegal’s rice production. In 2015, the organization began helping farmers gain access to better-mechanized equipment to facilitate rice cultivation in the Senegal River Valley. The overall approach of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture is to work with the entire system. The work with NGO’s and governments to help small farmers become more productive has helped to increase the economic benefit of sustainable farming practices. It also helps the farmers better feed themselves and their families.
Improving the Economy Through Sustainable Agriculture
The soil is becoming productive again, and farmers are gaining access to better techniques and equipment. However, the fight is not over. Senegal suffers from an unemployment rate of 47 percent. In 2017, the agricultural industry employed 77 percent of the population in Senegal, an estimated 6.9 million people. However, the agriculture industry only makes up only about 17 percent of the of the country’s GDP. The next step to better economic stability will be to tackle these issues. Hopefully, like its soil, the Senegalese economy will now rejuvenate and grow for all.
– Nicholas Anthony DeMarco
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Changes in Transcontinental Trade in Africa
Despite being home to many rapidly growing economies and an abundance of essential natural resources, Africa also contains numerous countries with some of the highest poverty and food insecurity rates in the world. However, new legislation and foreign support hope to ease the flow of domestic trade in Africa, allowing broader access to necessities and helping to build a strong continental economy.
The High Cost of Shipping
While Africa regularly exports goods to places such as the U.S. and Europe, only 13 percent of traded goods remain in Africa. Underdeveloped road and highway systems between neighboring countries translate to high costs in transcontinental shipments, ultimately raising the cost of transported goods to the point of unaffordability for most impoverished Africans.
For example, while the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates that East Africa produces enough food to support everyone living in the region, the high cost of transportation has halted trade in the area, resulting in food insecurity for 27 percent of the people living on the continent. However, recent legislative changes and foreign support signal that trade in Africa is beginning to take on a new shape that allows for transcontinental trade and a collective African economy.
The Transcontinental Trade in Africa
The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which was proposed at a meeting of the African Union in 2012, set forth goals of enhancing trade among the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs), made up of geographic subdivisions with interconnected economies, and creating a continental trading system that would encourage foreign investment and a competitive marketplace.
While the CFTA has yet to be fully implemented, ongoing discussions, including the December 2017 meeting in Niger of 54 countries in Africa, emphasize that an economic overhaul of this magnitude is a long-term goal with results that will not be immediately apparent despite the progress being made.
In addition to internal policy changes by African governmental leaders, foreign investors seeking to take early advantage of the promising African markets have expedited growth with contributions to urban development. In Ethiopia alone, Chinese investors funded the construction of the African Union’s headquarters in the capital city of Addis Ababa in the amount of $100 million. Road and highway systems, an airport and various energy and rail transportation programs are underway with the intent of modernizing Africa’s infrastructure and turning its economy into a thriving market with a high return rate.
Improving Agriculture and Trade
USAID has been working to improve trade in Africa through the creation of Trade and Investment hubs. Furthermore, through their Feed the Future initiative, USAID is working to educate various African countries on how to improve agricultural production and how to create trading systems that both improve the economy in the trading region’s while giving others access to goods not ordinarily available in their own region.
To complement the interests from investors abroad, foreign government organizations have worked from afar and on the ground to improve trade in Africa to create a flourishing, self-sufficient set of nations and to improve living conditions for the impoverished and the food insecure people throughout the continent.
Due to the large scale of growing trade in Africa to a place of higher economic security, progress may not be readily apparent or may not appear to be moving quickly enough. However, African government officials are hopeful that, by improving trade and economic conditions at the regional level and working outwards toward an efficient continental market, Africa may soon achieve its ultimate goal and find itself in a competitive position in the world market.
– Rob Lee
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Mayan Women Spearhead Rural Development in Guatemala
According to the CIA, 79 percent of Guatemala’s indigenous population lives under the poverty line. Guatemala suffers high rates of malnutrition that are disproportionately experienced among indigenous, Mayan communities. One organization, Qachuu Aloom, is working to improve conditions for Mayan communities by empowering Mayan women to spearhead rural development in Guatemala.
A History of Farming in Guatemala
Ending in 1996, Guatemala’s civil war lasted for 36 years. A report by the United Nations-backed truth commission found that Guatemalan security officials committed multiple acts of genocide against the Mayan population. More than 200,000 people died during the civil war, 83 percent of which were Mayan citizens. Mayan villages and families were torn apart, and Mayan corn plots and gardens were destroyed by the Guatemalan military.
In the years following the end of the civil war, agricultural development projects carpeted the area, distributing a development model that disseminated American and European hybrid seeds. The foreign development projects introduced high-input agriculture, requiring chemicals, fertilizers and expensive hybrid seeds. These projects were rarely successful in rural villages because the farmers could not save seeds from the hybrids and were instead forced to buy new seeds after every harvest, which were they could not afford.
The introduction of modern agriculture to Guatemala brought the accelerated loss of native seeds. Farmers were no longer applying organic fertilizer but using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This practice not only damaged good soil but also translated to a loss of identity, knowledge and heritage for the Mayan people. It has also been the antagonist that has kept Mayan communities in poverty.
In 2013, stunting due to malnutrition was rampant in rural areas, with some Mayan communities experiencing rates as high as 75 percent. The life expectancy in indigenous Mayan communities is shorter than in other communities in the country by 13 years, with an infant mortality rate is more than doubled. Poverty affects indigenous Mayan women even greater. Mayan women have limited access to health facilities and proper healthcare, which explains the high rates of maternal and infant mortality. The maternal mortality rate among Mayan women is estimated to be five times the national average at 190 women out of 100,000 live births.
Qachuu Aloom in Guatemala
For the last 15 years, the organization Qachuu Aloom (The Garden’s Edge) has been working with farmers from 25 Maya Achí communities in Guatemala. Out of Qachuu Aloom’s 500 associated members, 80 percent are women. Qachuu Aloom positions women in leadership roles, making Mayan women the spearhead for rural development in Guatemala. Qachuu Aloom was established to help families rebuild their lives after decades of civil war.
More than 60 percent of the people living in the Qachuu Aloom partnered communities are rural workers and producers. Qachuu Aloom has set up networks to improve the commercialization of organic products and medicinal plants so that its members can increase their economic health. In the gardens, members produce amaranth flour, pigeon pea flour and salted squash. The products give members an alternative income stream so they can reinvest in their communities, farms and families. Qachuu Aloom also couples its development measures with the preservation of native seeds. The organization built a seed bank in the municipality of Rabinal that ensures food sovereignty, promotes ancient ancestral knowledge and contributes to food security for its members.
Mil Milagros in Guatemala
Mil Milagros, another community-led development organization, has been empowering Mayan women to be the spearheads for rural development in Guatemala. Since its inception in 2007, Mil Milagros has been equipping mothers and teachers with skills and resources to improve the lives of children and families in rural Guatemala. In regions of Guatemala where primary school completion was as low as 40 percent, Mil Milagros partner schools have raised this percentage up to 97 percent. The organization has also helped combat malnutrition. Through Early Childhood Development workshops and by providing nutritional supplements and vitamins to Mil Milagros mothers, malnutrition has decreased by half.
Development projects that enlist women as the agent of change and power are successful in rural regions because when women are given opportunities to extend their economic margins, that money gets reinvested in their children, their household, and their community. Organizations like Qachuu Aloom and Mil Milagros recognize women’s potential and work to empower Mayan women to be the spearheads for rural development in Guatemala.
– Sasha Kramer
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Technology Transforms Agriculture
Smallholder farmers and their families make up to almost 75 percent of the world’s poor population. Struggling with access to health care, clean drinking water and education are just some of the daily challenges these people face. A digital technology company called Ricult is striving to improve the productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers in developing countries by solving agricultural problems with technology-based solutions. Ricult has already helped 10,000 farmers across Thailand and Pakistan and continues to prove that technology transforms agriculture in developing countries every day.
Technology Transforms Agriculture
Ricult requires farmers to enter in their geo-coordinates through their app. It then uses geospatial data streams that monitor the environment through weather, satellite, and soil analytics. This provides the farmer with valuable data such as soil conditions to ensure optimal growth.
Some of the basic problems that poor farmers face include inadequate access to weather data, no pest attack forecast, storage issues, low-profit margins and credit access. According to Usman Javaid, the CEO of Ricult, the biggest reason why microfinance institutions haven’t been able to alleviate poverty in developing markets is that they only focus on one part of the problem by providing credit.
The Work of Government of Pakistan
Providing credit is the main way the Government of Pakistan seeks to transform agriculture. The government has adopted a long-term development strategy that aims to remodel the country into an upper middle-income country by 2025. The government developed the Five Year Plan that aims to ensure national food security and reduce rural poverty by increasing productivity, competitiveness and environmental safety. Through this program, the government provides $3 billion in subsidies, grants and loans. They are also providing credit to farmers who own up to 12.5 acres of land and are facing massive irrigation costs.
Ricult as Example how Technology Transforms Agriculture
Javaid says that one of the biggest problems in developing countries is that when farmers receive cash, they will use it for anything and everything but not for agriculture. The country gives an in-kind loan of inputs delivered to the doorstep of the farmers and accompanies this with insightful and actionable agronomic data from optimal sowing times to yield forecasts. This is just one of the examples of how exactly technology transforms agriculture.
Another great component about Ricult is that it allows farmers to get paid within 48 hours. Farmers generally use a middleman who delivers produce from the farm to the markets. Middlemen often stagger payments and cost additional input. Ricult offers five times lower interest rates than middlemen. Ricult has received a $100,000 grant from the Gates Foundation and continues to transform agriculture in developing countries by making a positive impact in the lives of farmers.
A Pakistani farmer named Faraz Shah has said that the current system of informal credit was not working for the farmers. They were very upset, but Ricult has greatly improved their lives by offering credit at much cheaper prices and improving them with high-quality products. Thailand farmer BubpaWorawat said that Ricult dashboard with its color coding system lets him know in which part of his land growth is stunted so he can take immediate action unlike before when he could not personally scout the areas and he would not know about the problem until it was too late.
Ricult is only one example of how does technology transforms agriculture. Since agriculture is a prevalent way of life in less developed countries, in which most of the poor people of the world live, it is very important to develop the new ways and to use technology to help these people to be more effective in their line of work. By doing so, technology can help poor people get out of the cycle of poverty.
– Grace Klein
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Sustainable Agriculture in Ghana Alleviates Poverty
Ghana is a small country located in West Africa along the Guinea Bay. The country is rich in natural resources, especially oil and gold, but nearly 45 percent of the country’s population is employed in the agricultural sector and agriculture makes up 18 percent of Ghana’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Coca, rice, cassava, peanuts, and bananas are some of the top agricultural products grown in Ghana. Coca is one of the country’s popular exports, alongside oil, gold and timber. Despite being resource-rich, Ghana’s economy has been contracting. Its current growth is around negative 6 percent. Countries and organizations around the world, alongside Ghana’s government and people, have recognized this problem and are currently promoting sustainable agriculture in Ghana so that they can carve a brighter future for this recovering African nation.
Feed the Future Program
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has chosen Ghana, specifically Northern Ghana, as one of its focus nations for its Feed the Future Program. USAID reports that the majority of farmers in this part of the country own small farms that are often less than five acres. Much of this land is covered in pour soil. Due to climate change and the inherent climate of the region, rain is unpredictable.
These challenges mean that malnutrition is high amongst the population. USAID’s Feed the Future Program aims to increase the productivity of these farms that mainly produce corn, rice and soybeans and promote sustainable agriculture in Ghana. Since 2012, Feed the Future has helped supply 156 thousand producers with better farming equipment and educate them on sustainable farming techniques. These techniques have led to the alleviation of some of the malnutrition and poverty issues. They also earned the farmers a total of $40 million and $16 million in private investment.
Governments Role in Sustainable Agriculture in Ghana
This private investment is important to the government’s idea for the future of sustainable agriculture in Ghana. The Ghanaian Times reports that the government of Ghana recognizes the United Nation’s latest report about the future of food security. The government wants to do its part on the world stage and at home by promoting sustainable agriculture in Ghana.
Ghana’s Shared Growth and Development Agenda mention a few ways in which the country plans to do this. The government works with organizations such as the USAID and many programs based in Africa, such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program. Sustainable agriculture in Ghana is seen as a way to strengthen food security, alleviate poverty in the country and promote private sector growth.
Trax Ghana is a small nongovernmental organization that promotes sustainable agriculture in Ghana for all of the reasons mentioned above. Like the USAID Feed the Future Program, Trax Ghana operates mainly in Northern Ghana. It promotes the nitty-gritty of sustainable agriculture. It teaches farmers about the importance of soil management and how to construct proper animal pens. The organization also promote gender equality, teach business skills and farming skills to both women and men for over 25 years, since the organization was founded.
Attacking the issue of poverty from multiple fronts and with multiple allies, the future of sustainable agriculture in Ghana looks bright. Ghana’s government is in collaboration with USAID to set up the Ghana Comprehensive Agriculture Project to increase private sector investment into the agriculture sector. It will take time and there will probably be some setbacks, but with so many people dedicated the practicing and promoting the practice of sustainable agriculture, the country has a good chance of succeeding.
– Nicholas DeMarco
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Global Food Insecurity Has a Common Solution
Food insecurity is outlawed by international rule of law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948, as a minimum standard of treatment and quality of life for all people in all nations. Article 25, section 1 of the declaration states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food.”
Causes of Food Insecurity
Often times, countries that are a part of the U.N. fall short on this promise to provide adequate nutritious food to everyone, including the United States of America. Malnutrition and food insecurity can be attributed to many causes worldwide, from political turmoil, environmental struggles and calamities, lack of financial resources and lack of infrastructure to distribute food equally within a country.
It is widely known that the poorest nations often lack the means or the will to sufficiently supply food to the people and their most vulnerable population, ethnic minority groups, women, and children often suffer the most.
In 2006, the Center for Disease Control reported that widespread media attention in 2005 brought global awareness to a food crisis in the West African country of Niger. According to the report, with a population of 11.5 million in 2002, 2.5 million people living in farming or grazing areas in Niger were vulnerable to food insecurity.
Food Supply Chains
In the United States, conventional food supply chains are used in the mass distribution of food. This method starts with produced raw goods. These products are transferred to distribution centers that may offload goods to wholesalers or sell them directly to food retailers, where these goods are finally purchased by consumers at grocery stores and markets. Food may travel long distances throughout this process, to be consumed by people who may have purchased comparable foods grown closer to home.
In her article entitled Food Distribution in America, Monica Johnson writes, “With each step added between the farm and the consumer, money is taken away from the farmer. Typically, farmers are paid 20 cents on the dollar. So even if the small-scale or medium sized farmer is able to work with big food distributors, they are typically not paid enough to survive.”
Hunts Food Distribution Center is one of the largest food distributors in the United States with over $2 billion in annual sales. According to the New York Economic Development Commission, it sits on 329 acres of land in the Bronx, New York and supplies over 50 percent of food consumed by people in the area, and also supplies food to about 20 percent of people in the region. Still, the Food Bank of New York City reported a meal gap of 242 million in 2014 and food insecurity of 22.3 percent, with 399,000 of people affected being children.
Solution to the Problem
About 13 years after the Niger food crisis the country is still one of the poorest in the world. The World Food Program (WFP), headquartered in Rome, Italy, continues to focus on fixing the problem of food insecurity in countries like Niger. Through helping those like Nigeriens build sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems for crop cultivation, the WFP hopes to lessen the high levels of food insecurity and issues related to it, such as malnutrition and high mortality rates among children under the age of 5.
Assisting locals to manage sustainable local food resources through soil conservation, water harvesting, rehabilitating irrigation systems and reducing the loss of biodiversity among other efforts, the organization focuses on local measures to solve food insecurity issues.
The same is happening in the United States. The country plans to upgrade agricultural facilities and operations, a plan that includes working with other food distributors at the state level to increase integration with upstate and regional food distributors, supporting local farms, and providing growth opportunities for emerging regional food distribution models.
Food insecurity is a big problem in developing, but in developed countries as well. Countries need to make sure to promote local agriculture development in order to achieve food production that will suffice each country needs.
– Matrinna Woods
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Hope for Reducing Poverty in Nigeria
Nigeria has recently overtaken India as the poverty capital of the world. Ranking lists like the Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI) and the Human Capital Index (HCI) place Nigeria at the bottom or very close to the bottom. The country has the highest number of people in extreme poverty in the world, at 86.9 million people.
However, this is not stopping Nigeria’s population from growing. According to the most recent estimates, Nigeria is predicted to become the third largest populated country in the world by 2050. The poverty rate is expected to increase exponentially if something does not change soon. Fortunately enough, the causes of Nigeria’s high poverty rate have been identified. If changed, the improvement in the following categories can bring hope for reducing poverty in Nigeria.
Data from October 2018, Nigeria has the greatest number of children that are out of school. The number increased from 10.5 million to 13.2 million. There was an attempt by the government to increase school attendance, but the children were forced to return to the streets because they could not survive while in school.
The high number of children out of school is accompanied by the high fertility rate in the country. In 2016, the birth rate was estimated to be around six children for each mother and usually, these mothers first started having children around the age of 18. Having so many children, it is hard to put them all in school because of the education costs. It is no surprise that many children go without education and many families prefer that they do things that can bring money to the family, or help gather food. To make things even worse, the children who go out in the streets to make a living are often exposed to sex trafficking, drug trafficking and other violent activities.
The Nigerian government is reluctant to start more education funding in the hope for reducing poverty in Nigeria. The big problem is that there is a lack of data that shows them what to do and how to fix the system. Punch Newspapers, a Nigerian newsletter, urges the wealthy in the country, and elsewhere, to help fund the program that will be focused on collecting data, program that will be jointly funded by different organizations and the government.
Cash Transfers’ Role in Reducing Poverty in Nigeria
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) released a report in 2016 that showed that cash transfers, direct transfer payments of money to eligible people, can show direct growth in the economy, school attendance, health care and dietary diversity. The ODI determined that cash transfers, when invested correctly, can lead to an increased amount of income in the future. For example, if families invest money they receive from the government into agriculture, education, or beginning a new business, they would have the confidence to continue their prospects once the cash transfers end.
However, once the cash transfers end, the progress typically stops too. As Quartz Africa states, the cash transfers are great for temporary benefits and giving citizens hope, but with the loss of transfers from the government, some families revert to the way they were before. Therefore, this should be a good example for the government to see how important it is for their intervention.
Development of Agriculture
Nigeria faced an economic decline due to the decline in oil and natural gas prices, country’s main export products. However, due to the big dependence on oil and gas, agriculture growth in the country is out of great importance. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is conducting research on how to renew agricultural success. In their report on growing the agricultural sector, CSIS claims that this is a very important sector to grow because of its potential to feed the country as well as provide jobs and stability to the extremely impoverished.
The agriculture sector already employs 70 percent of the country’s population, but by expanding it, the country can provide even more specialized jobs that will allow people to move through the job ladders. One of the main reasons this has not flourished as expected is because the farmers have a hard time accessing loans to get the right machines required to run a successful farm. The other issue stems from a lukewarm commitment from the government that also leads to a lack of research into the potential for agriculture. CSIS plans to put the work and money into Nigeria to help this sector growth.
Cash transfers feed into the ability to pursue education, which will further the growth of economy and society. Not only that, but the bigger step in cash transfers can be long-term loans to farmers so that the agricultural sector can further develop.
There are also other steps and means that can help bring Nigeria out of extreme poverty, but the development of agriculture and education with the help of the government seem to be three pillars of success. As long as people recognize the steps that need to be taken to improve the situation, hope for reducing poverty in Nigeria remains.
– Miranda Garbaciak
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Sustainable Wine Production in Chile
For decades, the Chilean government has worked hard to promote sustainable agricultural practices. These practices began through joint programs with United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the 1980s, when both the government and farmers realized that growing organic crops will yield both better food products and higher profits as well.
The government also worked with the Government of the United States in buying more efficient and organic fertilizers and pesticides. Modern programs promoted by the Chilean government through their agricultural bureau have helped to grow the agriculture sector by about 3 percent in 2017, which was twice the growth of the nation’s GDP. By 2020, the Chilean government aims to be in the world’s top 10 list of food producers. Sustainable wine production in Chile will help them get there.
Wine Production in Chile
The agriculture sector in Chile employs about 800,000 people or just over 4 percent of the population. Out of the total agro-forestry exports, wine makes 2.9 percent. The majority of the wine production in Chile comes from small and medium-sized farms that are spread up and down the country. In 2009, Chile was ranked 5th in the world in wine exportation and 7th in wine production. This ranking has stayed relatively stable for the past decade.
Chilean wine is world renown for its quality. Because of this fact, it has also brought in much foreign investment and tourism. Modern-day investors see a stable and ever-growing market to invest in, while tourists see a beautiful country made better by great wine.
Wines of Chile
The secret of the wine production in Chile is two-fold. One is certainly the Chilean climate that helps to reduce the need for harmful pesticides since it is difficult for certain bacteria and molds to grow. The second is the government support of the sustainability code of the Chilean wine. The code that promotes sustainable wine production in Chile is given to the wine producers by a voluntary organization called Wines of Chile, that now has over 100,000 members. The organization provides uniform quality standards that wineries must meet to receive their stamps of approval.
The organization Wines of Chile helps wineries organize sustainable wine production in Chile by providing resources to help them earn the standard. A winery can receive three stamps that form a circle when combined. The first stamp is green for the vineyard. To earn this stamp a winery must prove that it is using sustainable methods to both grow and harvest its grapes. The second is orange that accounts for social dimension. A company must show social equality at all levels. The third is red for the process of the winemaking itself. The process includes all facilities and processes for getting the wine to market, such as bottling.
There are a few powerful benefits for receiving three stamps of approval. The first one is that it increases the marketability of the wine. Organic and sustainable labels make the wine more attractive, especially abroad. The second is that the resources available to the wineries allow them to grow and become stable. The third one is that it is great for the environment, that, in the end, allows for better harvests and longer use of the land.
In 2017, Chilean wine exports to China were worth over $250 million and to the United States, total exports were at $246 million. In 2016, Chilean exports totaled $1.8 billion. As sustainable wine production in Chile continues to grow and becomes even more successful, it will surely help Chile reach the much-desired place in the top 10 list of world’s food producers.
– Nick DeMarco
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Sustainable Agriculture in the Republic of Georgia
The beautiful Republic of Georgia is nestled in the picturesque Caucasus region between Russia in the north and Turkey in the south.
Much of the land between the sea and the peaks is green and fertile. Here, sustainable agriculture in the Republic of Georgia thrives.
In 2015, the Government of the Republic of Georgia began a push to improve its agricultural production for both economic and environmental benefit. The country’s agriculture strategy also aims to reduce Georgia’s dependence on grain imports, one of the country’s top import products.
The importance of agriculture in Georgian history, specifically winemaking, stretches back over 8,000 years. Wine has been and continues to be one of the most important aspects of Georgian agriculture.
The strategy has the vision to create an environment that will increase competitiveness in agro-food sector, promote stable growth of high-quality agricultural production, ensure food safety and security and eliminate rural poverty through sustainable development of agriculture and rural areas.
Each section outlines plans to implement everything from better irrigation, saving water and reducing water pollution, to improved animal husbandry.
On top of embracing modern techniques, they outline improving both industrial agricultural techniques and educating and helping smaller rural farms embrace these techniques.
The most important steps in the strategy from an economic standpoint are not just introducing techniques that will benefit the farmers’ crop yields while lowering their total overhead cost but the government’s idea to help bring crops to market within the country and for export.
The FAO and EU Help
The development of sustainable agriculture in the Republic of Georgia is not a solo mission.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), along with the European Union is partnering with the Republic of Georgia to bring its dream to fruition.
The European Union is helping the Georgian government by providing both money and expertise. The FAO has been working with the Republic of Georgia on promoting and implementing programs aimed at increasing food security since 1995.
From 2013 to 2015 the sustainable agriculture in the Republic of Georgia was spearheaded by a joint FAO and Georgian government venture. FAO assistance in Georgia has mainly focused on technical development and the livestock industry.
It is nearly impossible not to talk about the connection between wine and Georgian agriculture.
Georgia and the surrounding area has been continuously producing wine for over 8,000 years. Grapes are one of the most produced agricultural products in Georgia and wine is one of the most produced industrial products. The country is known as the first wine-making region in the world.
While the wine exports do not hit the numbers that more notable wine countries like Italy, France, or Spain do, it should not go unnoted.
Georgian wine is beginning to gain more and more international recognition. This has the potential to grow the export industry surrounding wine and increase tourism of the country, both potentially big economic benefits.
Sustainable agriculture in the Republic of Georgia has been and always will be an uphill battle. Russian pressure from the North has historically put pressure on the region. Only eight years ago, the two nations were at war.
Georgia is pulling itself up by its boots straps and beginning to shake off the dust of the Soviet Union. The country is forging its own future from the ground up.
– Nicholas Anthony DeMarco
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