Tag: Global development

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How the war is changing agriculture in Ukraine

market, food, fruits, vegetables

The war in Ukraine has already been going on for 6 months. Since its beginning, it has not only shaken people’s lives, but also disrupted the Ukraine’s systems. This RURAL21 article by Pavlo Kuliuk, Ukrainian freelance journalist from Donetsk region, Ukraine, shows how the war has changed the agricultural system in many parts of the country.

Away from supermarkets and towards local cultivation

“Before the war, supermarkets sold vegetables cheaper than market sellers. But in the contested parts of the country, the supermarkets are now closed because it is dangerous for large stores to keep open when military activities are raging close by. All too many shopping centres have become victims of attacks.”

“This is why in war zones such as the Donetsk region and parts of Mykolaiv, Zaporozhye, Kharkiv and Dnepropetrovsk regions, vegetables and fruits represent a sort of liquid currency. For wherever logistics has collapsed, there is a paucity of goods. Therefore, at least in the summer months, greens and fruit growing in districts offer locals a great opportunity to earn additional income.”

“The dachas and gardens have been left behind by people who were evacuated. So those who have stayed grow vegetables and fruits in their gardens or harvest fruits from land that has no owner anymore. They then either sell yields or eat them themselves. Many people have also started to grow greens and fruit on fallow land.”

“Thus the war has eliminated everything that is ‘superfluous’ in the trade chains, and only essential commodities have remained in them. Paradoxically, poor local peasants and farmers have survived in difficult conditions, while the rich speculators have disappeared from the market.”

Ukrainian wheat exports resumed

“The war will also lead to a smaller wheat harvest in 2022, for it has not been possible to cultivate the fields to the same degree as that before the war. Wheat production in Ukraine is almost five times the volume of consumption. For example, last year Ukraine harvested 32 million tonnes of wheat. At the same time, the country’s domestic demand did not exceed seven million tons.”

“But it is still too early to say how things will move on. The cost of grain may rise again due to rising fuel and fertiliser prices, as well as climate change. An increase in the area under crops can restrain the rise in grain prices. Farmers must learn to work in the new conditions, when fuel and fertilisers become more expensive. Whether farmers in various countries will be able to do this is not known. This is a challenge affecting everyone.”

This article was first published by Pavlo Kuliuk, Ukrainian freelance journalist from Donetsk region, Ukraine at RURAL 21.

Fight against tuberculosis set back 12 years by Covid pandemic, report finds

This article was originally published on Global Development, The Guardian

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in nearly a 25% decrease in diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis around the world, according to research published in March 2021 by a coalition working to end TB.

Twelve months of Covid-19 has reversed 12 years of global progress against tuberculosis, worse than previously estimated.

“Due to the impact of the Covid pandemic on services, the number of people diagnosed and treated for TB in the worst-affected countries has dropped back to 2008 levels, said Stop TB Partnership’s executive director, Lucica Ditiu. A modelling study published last year estimated a setback of five to eight years.”

“The effect on countries has depended on their existing disease burden. Data from India and South Africa showed people infected with both TB and Covid-19 are three times more likely to die than those infected with TB alone, meaning preventive steps such as contact tracing and testing are essential in keeping rates low.”

Every year TB infects 10 million people and kills 1.5 million, more than any other infectious disease. Although Covid-19 overtook TB in 2020 as the most common cause of death from an infectious disease, TB still kills more people than Covid in low- and middle-income countries.

“Some countries have fought hard to reverse the setbacks. India’s health ministry, after seeing a 70% drop in TB notifications in the first four months of 2020, integrated TB outreach into Covid-19 programming.”

TB did not disappear when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Instead, people got distracted, health workers were redirected and health systems became overwhelmed, said India’s minister of health, Harsh Vardhan.

This article was originally published by Kate Hodal on Global Development, The Guardian.