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A peek at global ag issues

A peek at global ag issues

Plans are underway in Ukraine to demine affected farmland

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer is again taking an opportunity to highlight the issues affecting farmers around the world.

In Ukraine, for example, work is underway to remove landmines from farmland.

The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), along with other industry partners, are running the program.

The project uses satellite imagery to identify potentially mined land, then specialized teams survey and clear the land.

The demining work is starting in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Kherson, three of Ukraine’s top farming regions, and will focus on smaller operations.

“By restoring mined land to productive use, we can help restore agricultural livelihoods –  and, in doing so, phase out the need for humanitarian assistance for thousands of rural families,” Marianne Ward, the WFP’s Ukraine country director, said in a statement.

HALO Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to removing landmines from warzones, estimates around 2 million landmines have been placed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion started in February 2022.

In Kenya, a fertilizer scandal is gripping the ag sector.

KEL Chemicals, a local fertilizer producer, is alleged to have produced substandard fertilizer under government subsidy programs.

Local media reports the fertilizer came in government bags but lacked a standardization seal.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi ordered the plant’s closure and referred to it as “a crime scene,” the Kenya News Agency reported.

Company officials attribute the substandard product to a mistake in production.

For some farmers, the damage is already done.

“I no longer trust fertilizers being sold by the government,” George Agutu, a local grain farmer, told The Africa Report. “I’m focusing on poultry this year. I’m not ready to lose my money and time.”

Some Kenyan lawmakers want Secretary Linturi to resign over this scandal, but the secretary says the issue is being blown out of proportion.

And in Nepal, beekeepers are upset with honey import levels while domestic honey goes unsold.

Around 4,000 metric tons of domestic honey remained unsold in the past three years.

Honey producers are frustrated with Indian honey dominating the local market and may begin pouring honey in the streets in protest.

"We discussed the challenges faced by honey producers, proposed solutions, and emphasized the role of the government in production and marketing," said Shiva Prasad Paudel, the outgoing president of the Federation of Nepal Beekeepers, local newspaper República reported. "The influx of Indian honey into our markets has pushed local farmers to the brink."

Beekeepers have asked the minister of agriculture to impose a 60 percent import tax on honey and to ban Indian honey imports between October and April to support local honey producers.

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