World Vision Romania: The war in Ukraine is shaping up

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the widespread devastation of the country, as well as the economic sanctions imposed on Russia, raise the specter of another world food crisis, according to an analysis by World Vision Romania, quoted by Agerpres.

Thus, an increasingly relevant topic for agriculture in Romania and in the world is how to increase agricultural production, using fewer resources, the quoted analysis shows.

In 2021, Russia and Ukraine ranked among the top three exporters of wheat, barley, corn, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil. Russia has also been the world’s largest exporter of nitrogen fertilizers and the second largest supplier of potassium and phosphorus.

The analysis also shows that the number of undernourished people in the world could increase by 8 to 13 million people in 2022/2023.

According to data provided by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Ukraine and Russia are among the top 5 global exporters of cereals: barley (19%) and wheat (14%) of total exports. Even more prominent is their presence in the sunflower seed and oil production sector where the two countries hold 64% of the total export market “, the report states.

Thus, more than 50 nations depend on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine, most of which are high-poverty or developing countries.

Dependence on agricultural production in Russia and Ukraine reaches its peak in Eritrea (100%), Turkey (85%) and Egypt (73%), as well as in most former Soviet republics or countries in North and Central Africa.

The FAO’s preliminary assessment suggests that between 20% and 30% of the areas with cereals, corn and sunflower seeds in Ukraine will either not be planted or remain unharvested during the 2022/23 season.

“If we add economic sanctions and a possible export ban for Russia, they will have a major impact on global food security. Under such a scenario, the overall number of undernourished people could increase by 8 to 13 million people in 2022/2023, with the largest increases in Asia-Pacific, followed by sub-Saharan Africa and close to North Africa. East and North “, the authors of the analysis note.

At the same time, FAO simulations assessing the impact on reducing exports of cereals and sunflower seeds from the two countries show that international food and feed prices could rise by 8 to 22% above their record levels reached in February 2022.

Thus, global agricultural production will be severely affected by rising energy, gas and diesel prices as well as the turmoil in the fertilizer industry due to declining world production and dependence on imports from Russia.

According to World Vision Romania, Agriculture 4.0 means producing more using fewer resources and in a way that protects the environment.

“Advances in the development of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies have the potential to amplify the volume of production and the efficiency of farms on a global scale,” according to the quoted analysis.

The analysis also shows that in recent years, terms such as “precision agriculture”, “smart farming” and “digital agriculture” have become commonplace in the discourse of specialists and the media, advancing the idea of fourth revolution in agriculture, Agriculture 4.0.

“Most farmers do not have the ability to work with satellites or understand how a robot works. Therefore, the transfer of knowledge and the training of skills in new technologies are essential for all actors involved in agricultural processes and food production, from governors to specialists, farmers, technicians, teachers and students “, the analysis also states.

Representatives of World Vision argue that it is important to prepare young people for Agriculture 4.0, familiarizing them with new technologies from high school (in fact, robotics and programming are in the high school curriculum in many countries). Thus, the applications of super-technologies will attract young people with ideas, better technically prepared for agriculture.

“World Vision has already taken steps in this direction, by preparing a special educational program for agricultural high school students, which talks about sustainable agriculture and the technological arm of Agriculture 4.0,” said Crenguţa Bărbosu, Senior Program Manager at World Vision Romania Foundation. .

World Vision Romania, within the “Growing through Agricultural Education” Consortium, has developed an innovative educational module on sustainable agriculture and Agriculture 4.0. The educational package is addressed to the 56 agricultural high schools in Romania. The project “Journey to 2050” is currently in the pilot phase, and will be adopted by all high schools with an agricultural profile.

“Growing through Agricultural Education” (CEA) is a program funded by the Romanian-American Foundation (RAF) and run by a consortium of organizations including the World Vision Romania Foundation, Junior Achievement Romania, the Civitas Foundation for Civil Society and the Romanian Center for European policies.

The CEA consortium brings together agricultural education, new technologies and the business environment, to support the performance of high school teachers and managers and to increase the reputation of agricultural education, both among students and private partners. The initiatives of the CEA consortium are addressed to all 57 technological high schools with an agricultural profile in the whole country.