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May 31, 2022
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The Globe and Mail: the Ukrainian crisis has revealed the problem of global hunger

Refusal of Russian gas and fertilizers will destroy half of humanity

Europe, being a pioneer in the field of “green” energy, is likely to remain dependent on Russian gas. As it turns out, gas is still critical to meeting the bulk of global demand, the Canadian daily writes. Globe and mail.

And the rejection of Russian fertilizers may well exacerbate future crises. It is impossible to feed the whole world with organic farming methods.

Europe has always been one of the key markets for Russian fertilizers.

The dependence of the European market on Russian fertilizers is very strong: the Russian Federation provides more than 30% of the needs of local farmers in nitrogen fertilizers and 25% in phosphates. Together with Belarus, potassium supplies to the European market before the sanctions reached 50-60%.

Danish economist, environmentalist and social activist Bjorn Lomborg (Bjorn Lomborg) – Director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, author of False Alarms: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet for Globe and mail.

Increasingly, environmental activists began to impose on people the conviction that the problem of hunger can be solved by organic farming. And 50% of Germans, according to one survey, consider organic farming a key element in the fight against global hunger.

But, according to studies, the yield of this type of agriculture is much lower than the traditional option using synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. In addition, organic farming requires farmers to rotate soils, resulting in an average reduction in efficiency of 29-44%. This drives up the price of organic food. In addition, almost twice as much land is needed to meet today’s needs of people. That is, the transition to organics entails the destruction of natural resources while reducing production efficiency.

A good example is the disaster faced by Sri Lanka. Earlier, the country’s government banned chemical fertilizers and completely switched to organic farming. However, for several months this policy brought nothing but misery, including a fivefold increase in the price of some foodstuffs.

The country did not have enough land to replace synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. To go organic while maintaining production would require five to seven times more manure than today.

For decades, Sri Lanka was self-sufficient in terms of rice production, and now it is forced to import it. The production of the country’s main export crop and the main source of foreign exchange, tea, also fell.

Thanks to synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, which are produced mainly on natural gas, over the past half century, agricultural production has tripled while the population has doubled. Artificial fertilizers and other modern agricultural solutions are freeing up farm labor for other productive activities.

The transition to organic production around the world can only feed about half of the current world population: products will become rarer and more expensive, and will be available to a much smaller number of people, and the environment will also suffer.

To sustainably provide the world’s population with food, it is necessary to produce food in more efficient and less costly ways. The best way to achieve this goal is to improve the quality of seeds, as well as the widespread use of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation facilities. This will allow us to produce more food, curb rising prices, prevent hunger from breaking out and save nature, concludes Globe and mail.

Inc. corr. FSK

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