Demand for fertilizers in Ukraine

| Foreign Markets |

The Ukrainian Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food is expecting the farmers in the country to use c. 1.07 million tonnes of artificial fertilizers in the spring sowing season. The demand for nitrogen-based fertilizers is forecast to grow by 13% as compared to 2013 and reach 754,000 t. Also, 178,000 t. of phosphorous-based and 134,000 t. of potassium-based fertilizers are to be used.

Keeping the prices at bay

In November 2013, there were 817,000 tonnes of fertilizers in stock. At the end of December, the average price of nitrogen-based fertilizers neared 3,000 UAH/t, but was 15% higher at retailer outlets. The farmers’ associations made an appeal to the government to intervene, so as to stop the prices from rising.

Problems with stock?

The beginning of work on the farms is near, but difficulties with purchasing fertilizers have started already. The Ministry is recommending a review of natural gas prices for the chemical companies, which could help decrease fertilizer prices.

Support for producers and farmers

In order to stabilize fertilizer pricing, The Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food has suggested that prices be frozen each quarter, with some adjustments possible. The government has also proposed providing electricity and basic resources to chemical companies on preferential terms. Such measures could foster the competitive edge of the Ukrainian fertilizer market.

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India bets on educating farmers

| Foreign Markets |

The Hindu, one of Indian newspapers with the highest circulation, features “Farmers Note Book”, a column about agricultural issues. 180 texts from this section have recently been published in a book form, whose title is Impact of The Hindu’s Farmers Note Book on Technology Literacy of Farmers.

Indian people read newspapers

With 2.2 million readership, The Hindu is the third most popular English language daily published in India. Therefore, the decision to gather articles published by the paper in the last 6 years has been widely acclaimed. Two organizations working for the development of agriculture are responsible for this publication. The book is expected to have wide reach thanks to translations into Telugu (c. 70 million speakers), Tamil (c. 65 million speakers), Kannada (c. 35 million speakers), Marathi (c. 70 million speakers) and of course Hindi (c. 180 million speakers).

Knowledge in demand

“Farmers Note Book” includes articles about innovation in agriculture, with case studies and examples of good practice in farming. Another focus is on joint farm management, which proves very effective in the Indian countryside, provided that there is a strong local community leader and efficient division of tasks between particular farms.

Vast market

The population of India exceeds one billion people, and agriculture forms the foundation of the national economy. Consequently, such initiatives as the publication of Impact of The Hindu’s Farmers Note Book on Technology Literacy of Farmers benefit both the development of agriculture and the country as a whole. Nearly a half of the Indian workforce in employed in this sector, so support for farmers, including education, is a key task for the government and NGO’s.

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Protests of German farmers

| Foreign Markets |

Opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the USA and Europe, and demand to support environmentally-friendly agriculture were the two main reasons why 30,000 activists and farmers took to the streets of Berlin on January 18th, 2014.

No to GMO

The chief threats resulting from the transatlantic agreement, which is to be ratified by the government in Washington and the EU authorities in Brussels, include the risk of foodstuffs containing genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) flooding the European market. Farmers and activists from a hundred organizations working for the environment expressed their concern about the impact of American GMO’s on EU agriculture, animals, environment and the consumers of food products.

Postulates for the government

The protesters gathered in front of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office to call for an improvement of the quality of the produced food, and for curbing the power of huge investors who control vast acreages of land. They argued in favor of supporting organic plantations and young farmers, as well as for renewed efforts to combat world hunger.

A strategic moment

The timing of the protests was deliberate, as one of the largest agricultural fairs were inaugurated shortly afterward, at the end of January. Also, on January 18th, a meeting of tens of Ministers of Agriculture from all over the world was held in Berlin. In such circumstances, the voice of 30,000 protesters could not go unnoticed.

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Support for young American farmers

| Foreign Markets |

Food supply safety depends on climate and soil, but the decisive factor are the people and the opportunities they have to develop farming activity. In order to support young American farmers, a bill was put forward in April in the US Congress, aiming to lift the current obstacles making daily business more difficult for them.

Problems of the beginners

The main challenge for people entering the market of agricultural producers in the USA is gaining the financial resources for an effective start and developing one’s activity. Without money, investment in the farm is impossible, and beginners are unlikely to make a profit. It it not surprising, therefore, that few decide to take this risk. The average age of agricultural producers is thus rising, which does not sound optimistic if food supply safety in the country is taken into consideration.

Support for young American farmers/fot. photopin.comAid for young farmers

The bill aims at making farmland more accessible for young people, making investment loans on preferential terms more available, and providing technological support for agricultural producers commencing their activity in the business. Should the proposed solutions become reality, they will enable young farmers to open new farms and develop their own businesses. Additionally, the project involves conducting specialist analysis, providing hints as to the development of particular farms, as well as implementing mentoring systems and training for people starting their work as farmers.

Poland is also supporting young farmers

Rural Areas Development Programme 2007-2013 (PROW) includes a set of activities called Facilitating the start for young farmers. The future terms of aid that will be available are being negotiated because the precise allocation of EU budget for 2014-2020 is still in preparation. The new PROW will feature a program called A premium for young farmers, whose aim is to “foster generational exchange in the agricultural sector”. However, current proposals concerning the eligibility of potential participants of the program, such as the acreage of the farm and one’s years of experience in running the farm, leave many questions unanswered. The total budget to be granted for the program has not been announced either.

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