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Food Crops Link the World

by Christine
Food Crops Link the World

A strong case can be made for the argument that it is trade, which has linked the disparate nation states of the world together. It was the desire by the ancients to buy and sell across oceans and seas, with other communities from different ethnic origins, which brought us together. Food crops, especially, link the world, as they are our essential requirements for survival. In the 21C, in places like Asia, development is, often, in conflict with more traditional subsistence economic activities like agriculture.

Development Conflicts in the Third World

Wealthy developers want to establish high grossing activities like mining on land, which has traditionally been employed for farming and growing food crops. The World Bank and IMF, organisations set up to bring the developing world greater prosperity, sometimes find themselves on the opposite side to the wants of the traditional holders of the land. Trickle down neoliberal economics upholds that wealth creation for the rich and overseas corporations will eventually benefit the local inhabitants, despite displacing them and taking away their livelihoods in the short to medium term. They promise things will get better after getting much worse first. Economic development must ride roughshod over traditional customs and culture before it delivers greater economic wealth for the populace.

Economic Development Must Recognise the Value of Traditional Lifestyles

Growing food for the culinary requirements of a community and a nation remain important aspects of statehood in both the developing and developed worlds. Cows and sheep are livestock herds which provide multiple benefits to local populations from both their hides and flesh. Economic development must recognise the value of traditional lifestyles centred around agrarian activities in these communities. It cannot dismantle these cultural building blocks indiscriminately and indifferently. Indigenous people have been farming and growing food crops in this manner for millennia.

We Risk Becoming Soulless Husks

Food crops link the world and they must be respected for this very reason. Technology in the west may be rapidly replacing much of what we built our customs upon in the past, but we risk becoming soulless husks if we lose our talismans. The developing world has much to teach us about the essential nature of humanity. Food brings people together to share and to break bread, wherever you are on the planet. Food farming is an integral industry and we risk much if we lose sight of this as a society.

Agribusiness in the Digital Age

by Christine

Modern technology like the internet, smartphones, and a slew of other technological innovations have not just shaped the ways that we interact with each other but also the ways that we interact with the Earth itself. Agribusiness has entered the 21st century with a vengeance, utilising a vast array of digital technologies and internet capabilities to truly revolutionise the ways in which farmers grow, harvest, and maintain their crops and property.

The internet has been a major factor in the development of modern farming technologies and in some rather creative ways. It is the leading factor in why choosing a digital agency for agribusiness is becoming increasingly important. Some of the modern innovations offered by technology for agribusiness can include such things as placing sensors in the field which are linked to various farming applications, or smartphones, allowing the internet to function as a relay system and let farmers be able to check the flow of water, the spraying of pesticides or fertilizers, and even study highly detailed topography as well as the more mundane things such as temperature, humidity, and acidity in soil.

The ability to access all this information remotely allows farmers to be able to make better decisions about the ways in which they utilise their water and fertilizer, as well as manage their properties. Having these sensors and other things like them placed around a farm is like having a team of experts constantly checking the environment to tell you the needs of your crops. But it is not simply for corn or other plants alone, as these kinds of technologies can even be utilized to track herds, and even create statistical analysis for livestock, optimal breeding, and feeding rotations.

Even major farm equipment producers like John Deere are linking things like columbines and other farm equipment to the internet so farmers can manage and understand crop yields as crops are being harvested. This automated digital landscape makes it easy to produce models and statistical analyses to enhance further crop yields, understand what went right and what went wrong, and to improve various sections of land. This is not the only innovation, however, as many companies are working on producing self-driving tractors similar to self-driving cars that would be able to be run autonomously, harvesting fields all on their own without the need of an operator.

But what does all this truly offer? The answer is precision farming saves money. Here is how – precision farming allows you to be able to save on water costs and direct water to areas of the field which actually need it as opposed to simply the entire field. It can also save electricity by only running electric fences in areas where cattle are instead of electrifying the entire grid simultaneously.

It allows for directed farming so you can concentrate your efforts on new areas of your property or farm that are most in need of attention instead of a spray and pray style of farming which is inefficient and which can lead to loss of money. Precision farming saves money in water costs, electrical costs, fertiliser costs, equipment costs, and even in human costs as well. With precision farming you can hire fewer people because you have more automation allowing for the work to be done at a faster pace and all this information is immediately sent directly to your smartphone or home computer for you to look over and chart the day’s progress.

Don’t get left in the Stone Age when the 21st century promises not only higher yields but also higher profits as well.

Horses Of The Caucasus

by Christine

The Caucasus region and mountain system is the dividing line between Europe and Asia. The northern part of the Great Caucasus in Europe is called Ciscaucasia. And the southern part in Asia is Transcaucasia. The whole Caucasus region with an area of 440,000 square km. is predominantly mountainous. The origin of the domestication of the horses can be traced to the grassland of this Eurasian Steppe. This is the reason why the horses of the Caucasus are the world’s best mountain breed. Early Caucasians use horses for agriculture, transportation and warfare. They believe the horse is a symbol of honour success and generosity.  There are three horses native to the Caucasus region: Karabakh, Kabarda, and the Karachai. The culture of horse breeding takes roots in the difficult mountain terrain of this region.

The Karabakh also known as Karabakhskaya in Russian is the pride of the Caucasus. Experts say that this horse found on the southern part of the region is one of the oldest breeds in Asia. Karabakh is a mountain steppe riding and racing horse. Karabakh horses are performance-tested on the racecourse. Horses with this bloodline are favourite in bookmaker bets.  Karabakh horses are brave, they were involved on the frontlines of the battles. During World War 1 Caucasian warriors were fighting on these horses. These horses are not afraid of bullets and would run towards artillery redoubts.

Karabakh is the national animal of Azerbaijan and the official symbol of Agdam and Shaki region. The breed is known for its good temper, endurance and speed. The distinctive feature of this horse is its golden colour. They are mainly golden-redheaded and bay horses. There were almost no blacks or grays among them. The Karabakh influenced the development of the Russian Don horse. The golden colour of the Don horses is attributed to this breed.

The Kabarda or Kabardin horse is native to the Northern Caucasus. The early mountain tribesmen of the region breed the native Kabardin. This horse is the product of natural selection for centuries for its ability to survive harsh conditions. The Kabarda is the world’s best mountain horse. The supremacy of Kabarda is more apparent on higher altitude. This “extreme breed of horse” can live under extreme weather condition. It has developed the characteristics suited for difficult mountain terrain and harsh climate. This warm-blooded equine combines the agility of the hot-blooded horse with the milder temperament of cold-blooded breeds.

There are three main subtypes of Kabarda:
Basic type is the typical mountain horse for riding. This is predominantly rangy but well-muscled.
Massive type is the bigger horse with more robust bone structure which is similar to a typical carriage horse.
Oriental type is smaller with more Arabian influence. It has a smaller head, clean legs, thinner skin and hotter temperament.

Kabarda is generally healthy with no known breed-specific health issues.  They are also multi-talented, the can perform various task well. They can do endurance riding, general riding and agricultural work. Crossing a Kabarda with an Anglo-Arabian will give you Anglo-Kabardas. This breed perfectly combines the advantages of the two breeds. Anglo-Kabarda is noted for their high speed, vigour and strong constitution.

The Karachai horse also called Karatschaever, Karatschaewsker & Karachaier is a breed that comes from the breeds of the northern Caucasus. This breed was developed at the start of this last millennium. The Karachai comes from the combination of southern, steppe and eastern horses that is very similar to the Kabarda breed. It differed from Kabarda in having a more elongated and massive body with less expression of saddle type. It has an elegant head with curved ears, and a wavy mane and tail. The prevailing colours of Karachai are black and dark brown. The Karachai horses are typically used for riding, equestrian gaming, transportation and tourism. The first studbook for this breed was created in 1935.


Looking After the Labourers on the Land

by Christine
Looking After the Labourers on the Land

Just recently, there were reports that Punjabi farmers have found greener pastures in Georgia, a relatively small country in the Caucasus region. Due to cheaper farm leases, ideal climate for crops and rich soil, farm labourers in India have crossed the region looking for new farms to tend and crops to grow.

For many years, parts of Caucasus are embroiled in conflicts and violence. Despite the frictions in the region, the agricultural industry somehow thrived in Caucasus. In fact, one of the world’s first farmers came from the ancient inhabitants in communities that settled in the area. This does not come as a surprise since more than half of the total land mass in the Caucasus ecoregion are being used in agriculture. Among the major crops harvested in the area are fodder, tea and tobacco.

Farm workers in the region are lauded for being hardworking and resilient. But despite their diligence, their needs are often overlooked. One of which is their sexual needs. Good thing that there are brothels in the Caucasus that can bring about the farmers’ sexual desires.

Health services for farm workers in the region also seemed to be inadequate. As the number of young farm workers in the region increases, the need for proper health care also shoots up. Sadly, not everyone can afford the heath care they desperately yearn for. Farming, in general, constitutes mostly of physical labour that is associated with extreme physical and health risks. In a world where the significance of adept workers with benefits is recognised, why are farmers not given the same merits and assistance?

Support to local farmers is also limited. Due to climate change, productivity in the Caucasus is low compared with other agricultural regions in the world. What the farmers need are programs and assistance from their government as well as support from international research communities that are focused on improving agricultural yield. Plants that can grow even on winter and crops that are tolerant to salinisation and pests will also help in boosting the productive capacity of agricultural systems in the region. The growth potential of agricultural lands in the Caucasus will only go to waste if these needs will not be met.

Rural Finance in The Caucasus: 12 Quality Suppliers

by Christine
Rural Finance in The Caucasus: 12 Quality Suppliers
  1. FINCA

A leader in the international Microfinance Institution, FINCA offers financial services and products to small scale businesses in an effort to help these businesses start to grow, and diversify with resulting increases in family income, nutrition, employment and well-being.


Broad-based economic growth and poverty alleviation is what ACDI/VOCA is dedicated on accomplishing. They make use of innovative application of sound business practice as they strive to promote economic opportunities for cooperatives, enterprises, as well as communities.

  1. IFC

IFC has the backings of the largest global development institution, the World Bank Group that is focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries. They aid and assist their partners in overcoming operational and political challenges by putting their financial resources, technical expertise, global experience, and innovative thinking into practice.

  1. Farm Credit Armenia

Made and was founded by farmers and for the farmers, Farm Credit is known to be the only financial institution in Armenia based on international cooperative principles which essentially differentiate the organization from others existing in the market.

  1. USDA

The team at USDA Rural Development is committed in helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. They offer a variety of services which includes rural finance loans, grants and loan guarantees to support essential services. This in turn allows their clients to pursue housing, economic development, health care, first responder services and equipment, water, electric and communications infrastructure and the likes.

  1. Oiko Credit

A worldwide cooperative and social investor Oikocredit is able to provide the much needed funding to the microfinance sector, fair trade organizations, cooperatives and small to medium enterprises.

  1. CAIConsulting

Central Asia International Consulting is a leading Central Asian consultancy company that has expanded their services across Central Asia providing an excellent understanding of their local business climate, governmental institutions, educational establishments, ecology, local and regional economy, and political environment.

  1. EBRD

With its agricultural financing facility, the folks at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are tackling rural poverty in Tajikistan. As a result, small farmers are able to diversify production and improve profitability with the help of EBRD funding.

  1. KFW

KFW Development Bank was able to help to reduce poverty and to protect the climate and the environment with its experience in developmental policy.

  1. OFID

OFID helps stimulate economic growth and alleviate poverty in all disadvantaged regions of the world with them cooperating with developing country partners as well as the international donor community.

  1. GFA Consulting Group

GFA Consulting Group proved to provide providing effective solutions to the challenges in the global consulting market with its sound track record. This led to company’s international recognition and is incorporated in a set of values which focuses on performance, innovation, credibility and quality.

  1. IFAD

A strong partnership with the Government of Armenia is what IFAD has established over the years. This in turn led to the successful expansion of the Agricultural Cooperative Bank of Armenia (ACBA) with the ongoing partnership between IFAD and Armenia’s Ministry of Finance that resulted to a wide range of financial services in rural areas.

Women’s Health in Rural Communities of The Caucasus

by Christine
Women’s Health in Rural Communities of The Caucasus
Pregnant woman outside holding her tummy

Rural communities in the Caucasus are not free from health problems. Women in general are more prone in developing a variety of health problems compared to men. What is the overall status of women’s health in rural communities and what are the actions that need to be done in order to help improve them?

It should be noted that health care is less accessible in most rural communities found today. As a result, rural women suffer poorer health outcomes when compared to urban women. The reason behind this is due to the fact that health care providers are very much limited in rural areas and as such, women in rural communities find it time consuming and troublesome to pursue proper health care.

Caucasus is rich in history and culture with that being said, due to its geographical location, access to health care for rural residents can be a bit complicated. As such, most rural residents in Caucasus are often lacking in the health insurance aspect. In addition, in order to receive the much needed care and assistance, they are required to travel longer distances just to access a variety of medical, dental as well as mental health specialty services.

Among the limited health services in rural communities include obstetric as well as gynecologic. The same can also be said with regards to family planning having little to no to access with regards to contraception. In a perfect world, residents will be able to have complete access to primary care, dental, behavioral health, emergency, and public health services and have them within their reach in a timely and convenient manner. However, such is not the case particularly in Caucasus.

As mentioned earlier, people in living in rural areas will need to travel long distances just to have access to healthcare services. Many find this to be quite a burden especially with regards to both their time and resources. Furthermore, one hurdle that they need to overcome is access to a reliable transportation.

Rural areas don’t have the pleasantry to provide public transit for patients just to get to medical appointments. As such, it is quite a struggle reaching your appointments and schedule on time. In addition, elderly residents living in rural communities who have chronic conditions will require visits to outpatient healthcare facilities on a repeated basis. As a result, they may need to find a reliable means of transportation and sometimes are left with no other option but to move out of their community and find temporary refuge in the city.

Health literacy plays a very integral part in improving the quality of life in rural communities of the Caucasus. It is important to help women understand basic health information which includes managing a chronic illness, or taking medication properly. Literacy programs go a long way in helping rural communities be up to date with the latest innovation and trends in the health industry and people are encourage to support such endeavors to keep them going.

Farmers in Debt: Driven Off The Land

by Christine
Farmers in Debt: Driven Off The Land

Whether you believe in climate change or not, one thing is certain: farmers are constantly at the mercy of the elements and extremes of weather. Too hot or too cold environmental temperatures can seriously damage the viability of seasonal crops. This leaves a lot of farmers in a precarious legal position and end up with a lot of debt.

Reasons Why Farmers Incur Debt

In the U.S., debts incurred by farmers can seriously affect not only the agricultural industry, but also the country’s economy. But why do farmers get racked up in huge debts?

One reason cited by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is that crop growers expend their wealth rather than their revenues in funding their agricultural endeavours. This can lead to accumulation of debts, bankruptcy or worse, being driven off their land. Most farmers use their lands as collateral when applying for farm loans. If their ventures fail, they will be in serious debts. The threat of ever-increasing loan rates adds up to the burden of crop growers.

While in the United Kingdom, dairy farmers start to exit the industry as their arrears climb to critical levels. Over the years, the rise and fall of the wholesale price of milk forced a lot of dairy farms to operate at a loss. With the increase in operation costs, debts continue to stack up.

In India, severe drought affects the country’s yield of cotton, rice, etc. As a response, the government increased their budget on irrigation and crop insurance; however, these measures have little effect on the farmers’ plight. They still owe banks and moneylenders huge sums. Indian farmers use their loaned monies in procuring seeds and fertilisers. But because of erratic weather conditions and minimal crop harvest, they accumulate debts. Most farmers who cannot overturn their situation end up hanging themselves.

Farm debts in Australia have swelled by 75 percent in just a decade. In 2004, debts were recorded at A$40.4 billion. After ten years, it grew to A$70 billion. When venturing for new machineries, technologies or farm expansion, crop growers rely on debts as their fund resource. But because of high equity levels, debts are becoming a severe problem. For instance, the value of agricultural lands climb but the ratio of debt to equity remains the same.

If and when you incur debt, there are debt collection agencies in Australia that will manage your arrears and get you out of trouble.

Eco-Friendly Waste Management in Rural Communities

by Christine
Eco-Friendly Waste Management in Rural Communities

Most of the rural communities in the present don’t have the time and resources to spend in applying and integrating the latest innovation with regards to waste management approaches found today. With that being said, this does not mean that the community will not be able to find deal with their waste in a timely and effective manner. Here are a few eco-friendly waste management approaches rural communities can apply today.

One of the most popular waste management activities is found through incineration. Here people are able to create an energy source with the waste that they are removing. Flue gases, particulates, incinerator bottom ash, and heat are converted with burning a variety of waste materials. These are then used as a generator of electric power with the heat source it has accumulated. It should be noted before being dispersed into the atmosphere, flue gases as well as its particulates are filtered free from pollutants. With that being said, not every waste should be burned and people should be wary of them. This includes the likes of plastic as well as rubber.

Landfills are also a popular waste management option that is still being practiced and put into use all over the world. Previously unused or abandoned mines, quarries, or pits that had already been dug work great as landfills which helps save people a great deal of time and resources when setting up their landfill for use. As a result a landfill can become an inexpensive and hygienic means of waste disposal practice especially when it is properly taken care of. Furthermore, over time most of the materials disposed in landfills will eventually break down into gases and dissipate into the atmosphere. Industries can then use them as alternative fuel or energy sources in the process.

Last but definitely not the least of eco-friendly waste management activities rural communities can engage in is found through recycling. Recycling waste has been done for the past several decades and has proven to be very effective when put into practice and use. Basically, people are encouraged to reuse as many items as possible through their original form or perhaps turning them into something that is also relatively useful. For instance, paper products can be recycled and made into new forms of paper while at the same time contribute in preserving trees and rainforests. To save space for local landfills, people are encouraged to recycle plastics and glass.

It is good to hear that there exists a variety of eco-friendly waste management procedures rural communities can consider for in the present. Other noteworthy alternatives can also be found simply by looking them up over the internet today. With that being said, waste disposal is not a one man’s effort. People are advised to work hand in hand with the officials to ensure success with their waste management endeavors. As a result, a considerable amount of waste is saved in the process. Consider the eco-friendly waste management tips listed above.