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A look at what’s happening in international ag

A look at what’s happening in international ag

EU ag ministers discussed reducing protein crop imports

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Farmers in the U.S. and Canada are always in the know when it comes to stories affecting them and their farms.

Whether it’s regulatory hurdles, new products or weather challenges, producers have an idea about what’s coming and how to navigate potential difficulties.

But how much do they know about what’s affecting farmers in other parts of the world?

With that at top of mind, will highlight some of the goings on from other countries to inform North American farmers about what’s affecting their fellow producers around the globe.

In Europe, for example, EU ministers of agriculture met to discuss autonomy in protein production.

Increasing production of protein crops can have multiple benefits, said Adam Nowak, Poland’s deputy minister of agriculture and rural development.

“Protein crops offer a pathway to achieve many ambitious environmental goals, such as improving soil health, reducing fertiliser use, and cutting carbon emissions,” he said in an April 9 statement. “Rather than relying extensively on imported protein feedstocks, it is imperative to prioritise sourcing from domestic or nearby locations. This approach would not only streamline supply chains but also significantly reduce the carbon footprint associated with importing protein feed materials from South American countries.”

Staying in Europe, the French government have proposed a law designed to protect food sovereignty.

The legislation, introduced by Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau on April 3, is designed to encourage environmental practices and penalize violations, promote education across agriculture and invest in human resources.

“We must continue to put the productive and nourishing capacity of our farmers at the heart of our public policies,” Fesneau told his colleagues, according to media reports. “The objective of food sovereignty can only be achieved if we ensure generational renewal. We need a new generation, committed and trained to the challenges of climate change and agricultural transition.”

In Africa, farmers in at least one country are dealing with drought.

In Morocco, the Al Massira Dam only has 3 per cent of regular water levels, BBC reports.

Ag accounts for almost 90 per cent of water use in the country, and farmers are feeling the effects of the drought.

"The most difficult drought we have experienced in history is this year," Abdelmajid El Wardi, a wheat, cotton and livestock farmer, told BBC. “For me, the current agricultural year is lost.”

And in Asia, farmers in Nepal are dealing with large pests.

Elephants are destroying crop fields in Nepal, with officials counting 18 incidents of elephants entering maize fields in about three months.

Farmers are concerned about what they’ll have left to harvest and how they’ll support their families.

“It took more than three months of hard labour to raise the maize crops but right ahead of harvest, the elephants have destroyed everything,” farmer Norrul Alam told Down to Earth. “I cannot understand how my family will survive. Maize cultivation is our main source of livelihood.”

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