Can We Stop Climate Change?

Environmentalists had always call for a dramatic and drastic measures to mitigate impending scenarios of danger that our planet is currently experiencing due to the effects of global warming.

It has brought us to extreme and erratic climate patterns, rising temperatures of the ocean are now manifested in the melting of ice caps in the north and south poles due to the unbridled and excessive emission of greenhouse gases causing sea levels to rise at alarming levels.

Communities along the shore are endangered in redefining their shorelines, depleting fish catch with the loss of nutrients in hot sea waters and inundating agricultural lands.

The massive flooding, landslide disasters now happening in every parts of the world is something that we cannot take them for granted. It is now imperative that the people, their government and communities need to quickly put their act together to mitigate for the next ten years the almost irreversible situation.

We need to address this important issue to reorient ourselves, our communities and government by valuing our resources and increasing the awareness to our consciousness regarding the harm and danger that it shall brought forth to our planet earth.

The ecological reorientation, the importance of reviewing and reviving the best practices in the household, commercial establishments, industrial factories, agricultural fields and all aspects of governance and lifestyle is equally relevant in initiating the much desired environmental reforms.

We need to understand that this environmental issue is man made. This has been precipitated by harmful human activities such as the indiscriminate over use of fossil fuels, massive deforestation, destructive making activities through the use of chemical based agricultural products in terms of pesticides and fertilizers. Toxic industrial operations, the irrational use of land resources, garbage dumping, incineration and a string of bad practices.

Through reorientation, we can therefore rectify our bad practices into best practices, which can help reverse or at least mitigate the environmental crisis that we are facing.

Environmentalists and ecologists as well are magnanimous in saying that aside from fossil fuel use by man which is one major source of green gases, the massive use of chemicals in agriculture is also a major source of global warming.

Agricultural communities are therefore advised to shift their chemical based fertilizer application to 100% organic by using compost pit materials.

Hand in hand with agricultural reform is ecological resource management which is the proper use of our land resources by avoiding totally and completely stop patronizing products or technology that contaminate our soil and water.

We need to put an end to the indiscriminate dumping of chemical wastes, medical wastes and garbage that is ultimately destructive to the well being of our people and environment.

Lack Of Sound Agricultural Policies By Nations

A lack of sound agricultural policies by nations is the major drawback to achieving global food security. Food security according to the November 1996 world food submit plan for Action exists when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary need and food preferences for an active and healthy life. However, the reports, published last November, draw attention to agriculture with a caseload of good news stories on improving food security. The report by the food and agricultural organization titled “Pathways to Success” looks at initiative that have improve food security and new measure taken in the last year’s global recession. The united states-based international food policy research Institute uses it book, “Million Fed” to look at a mix food security success stories over a period of years many which are driven by non-governmental organizations and communities.

The 2008 food price crisis and the world growing population have brought food security to the top of international agenda.

An earlier FAO {Food and Agricultural Organization} had noted that farmers would need to feed a projected population of 9.1 billion in 2050. The key regions that require urgent action to reduce food insecurity and build adaptation capacity, the report said then, were central, East and West Africa, many countries in southwest Asia, the highlands in south America and certain region of central America and the carribear, However, the pathway to success which is an indepth look at 16 countries that have made some headway in reducing the number of hungry people, says the grim global figures hide the fact that the number of hungry people has been declining during the fifteen years period from 1991-2005. infact the report explains that among the 79 countries whose food security status is monitored regularly by FAO, 31 countries exhibited a trend decline in the number of undernourished during the period. Of these, it notes that, eight have already halved both the proportion and number of undernourished, this achieving both the MDG and world food submit target for 2015. Five have achieved just the MDG target, and three other are on track to achieve both targets by 2015. The report analyses for examples of countries that are on track to achieve 2015 food security targets: Nigeria, America, Brazil and Vietnam, Based on these examples, therefore the study argues that success in the battle to halve hunger will usually be characterized by creation of an environment for economic growth and human well being, outreach to the most vulnerable and investment in the rural poor, protection of grains and planning for a sustainable future.

The Economic Role Of Agriculture In China

The “Chinese economic miracle” seems to have captured the whole world’s attention, especially when it comes to production, manufacturing, sourcing, FDI inflow to China etc’. But do we know about the biggest sector in the Chinese labour market – the agricultural sector?

The PRC inherited a ruined country, exhausted from both man made disasters such as warlords, civil wars, occupation, and natural disasters, droughts, famine, and floods.

During the Mao era, the Chinese government carried out a wide ranging land reform in the rural areas. Farmers with little or no land were given land of their own, significantly arousing their enthusiasm for production. Overall in Mao’s period, China’s agriculture developed slowly, with some golden times such as 1953-57 when the yearly gross output increased by 4.5% on average.

Under Mao, the conceptual role of agriculture was imperative. The Chinese farmer was basically the equivalent to the Soviet blue collar proletarian, thus the importance of the farmers in the class struggle was fundamental.

After 1978 and under the reforms, China introduced the household contract responsibility system, linking remuneration to output, and started to dismantle the people’s commune system, eliminating the links between organizations of state power and economic organizations. Contracting land out to farmers altered the distribution form of land and mobilized the farmers’ enthusiasm for production. As a result, for six years following 1978, agricultural output grew more than twice as fast as the average growth rate over the previous twenty five years.

The reforms made the market play a basic role in adjusting supply and demand situation for agricultural products and allocating resources, and aroused the farmers’ creativeness and enthusiasm for production.

On the whole, the reformist thrust of China’s economic policy since 1978 has benefited agriculture, as it has benefited the economy in general. Nevertheless, after 30 years of reforms, the sector is still behind most of the other sectors in the Chinese economy.

The economic and political role of agriculture in contemporary China –

1. Food security. In an extremely large and populated country like China, the concept of food security is fundamentally important. The task of feeding its people has been perhaps the first priority of its rulers throughout history.

2. Political and social stability. The farmers of China are known to have a “rebellious spirit”, which is well documented in the history books. When famine, war, or other extreme conditions took place, the farmers of China, whom use to be the majority of the population, and remain to be the largest group of China’s people, chose to strike. Thus, there is a consensus that there is no stability without the farmers / agriculture, and in order to avoid “da luan” – big chaos, the farmers must be kept quiet and content. At present still, the farmers of China are the largest, yet under-represented group, which holds the keys to stability in China.

3. Employment tool. The concept of agriculture as an employment tool in China is a bit of a paradox. On the one hand there is a massive scale of labour surplus in the agricultural sector, resulting in underemployment or even unemployment. On the other hand, agriculture remains to be the biggest sector responsible for the employing feeding, and consequently keeping social and political order of around 60% of China’s population.

4. GDP share. The reforms in the early 1980s initially increased the relatively share of the agricultural sector. The share of agricultural output in the total GDP rose from 30% in 1980 to 33% in 1983. Since then, however, the share of agriculture in the total GDP has fallen fairly steadily, and by 2003 it was only 14%. These figures indicate a relatively small share of the agricultural sector, nevertheless a noteworthy one in the overall performance of the Chinese economy.

What are the main obstacles to the agricultural sector in China than?

1. Natural resources and disasters. At the beginning of the 21st century, China has still to face and deal with a number of severe ecological / environmental problems, some are the consequences of human mistakes, and some are simply a result of “mother nature’s” course. The main problems are water supply, i.e. shortage, wastage and quality. In the agricultural context, irrigation is likely to be the most important factor.

2. Education. Chinese policy documents state that national modernization depends on accelerating quantity-quality transition in the countryside, because a large “low quality” rural populace hinders progression from tradition, poverty and agrarianism to modernity and prosperity.

3. Technology. The standard of a country’s agriculture is appraised, first and foremost, by the competence of its farmers. Poorly trained farmers are not capable of applying advanced methods and new technologies. Deng Xiaoping always stressed the prominent of science and technology in the development of agriculture. He said – “The development of agriculture depends first on policy, and second on science. There is no limit to developments in science and technology, nor to the role that they can play….in the end it may be that science will provide a solution to our agricultural problems”.

Accordingly, China is seeking technology transfer in the agricultural sector, formed by joint ventures with international collaborators.

4. Limited investment from government. Between the Second and Fifth five-year plan periods (1958-1962 and 1976-1980), agriculture’s share of capital construction and other relevant forms of investment made available by the state remained a little over 10%. In 1998 agriculture and irrigation accounted, respectively, for less thsn 2% and 3.5% of all state construction investment.

5. Limited inflow of FDI – foreign direct investment. Most sectors in China enjoy an enormous inflow of FDI, which particularly helped in 2 dimensions – technology transfer and capital availability. The lack of an outside funding, accompanied with a reduced local funding contributed to the deterioration of the agricultural sector.

In conclusion, the agricultural sector in China, unlike other sectors in the Chinese economy, is still rather under developed, and requires a substantial boost from both the local and the international community. It is my prediction than, that more and more foreign investors will discover its enormous potential and act accordingly.

Farm Bureau Officials Accept End of Direct Payments

Recent meetings by agricultural interest groups like the Farm Bureau indicate that farmers are willing to accept the end of direct payment farm subsidies. In a recent meeting of the Indiana Farm Bureau, officials told assembled farmers that they would need to rely on farm loans and crop insurance since, as Bureau President Don Villwock said, “Direct payments are toast.” The meeting was called to help prepare members for the future of the 2012 Farm Bill and brace them for the upcoming changes farmers can expect to farm loans, farm subsidies, and agricultural grant programs.

One of the reasons that these types of meetings are necessary is the failure of Congress to address the approaching expiration of the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill governs nearly every federal agricultural policy in existence, from farm loans to technology grants. Renewed every five years, the most recent bill was passed in 2008 and is set to expire at the end of the year. Given the gridlock endemic to Washington politics over the last year, many farmers have been left to speculate on the fate of loans and farm subsidies. In addition to financial support, the Farm Bill provides farmers with concrete policies from the Agriculture Department. It also allows them to rest assured that they have a safety net in the form of disaster funding and emergency farm loans.

With no specifics forthcoming from Washington, farmers have been left to their own speculative devices and are using the failed super committee negotiations to guide their predictions on the future of farm spending. While it failed to pass, the deficit reduction plan suggested by the super committee involved preserving loans and crop insurance at the expense of direct payment subsidies. Farmers acknowledged that the public no longer supported direct payments, particularly in the face of record profits. As such, many farmers are bracing for the elimination of direct subsidies, hoping that they can preserve access to farm loans as a way to offset lost revenues.

In exchange for accepting the loss of direct payment, many farmers are demanding major reforms to policies governing other farm support programs, including farm loans and crop insurance. Given the current record profits experienced by many farmers, direct payments are no longer as necessary as they once were. However, inclement weather can still ruin a successful farm regardless of the market price of corn. Farm loans and emergency funding allow farmers to take advantage of current market prices, while still offering a safety net should weather patterns change or crops fail.