UFV MEMBERS ACTED AS EXPERTS IN DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE PUBLIC AND UN
Natalia Gordiichuk, Maryna Maslova and Mykola Volkogon, Chairman and members of the Ukrainian Food Valley Council, spoke at the online event “UN 75: Public Dialogue on Climate Change – Challenges, Risks and Opportunities for Ukraine in a Pandemic”, held on August 26, 2020 p.
The event, dedicated to the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the UN and climate change, participants, representatives of the UN and NGOs, told what businesses do for the environment, what to expect from Ukrainian farmers if the situation does not change, and which industries in Ukraine are responsible for environmental pollution. climate is a serious threat to humanity, and because it is slow, people have stopped paying attention to it.
For years, scientists have been raising the alarm about global warming, but little seems to be being done to tackle the climate crisis.
The main theses of Natalia Gordiychuk’s speech:
“This year’s pandemic has made its adjustments in all spheres of life and, as if giving nature a break, unprecedentedly reducing flights, other types of movement that have added so much to air pollution.
But other factors of pollution were added – disposable plastic, masks, protective suits.
People stayed at home, but this affected their consumer habits (eating more at home or ordering delivery).
For many HoReCa businesses, this meant bankruptcy. But some quickly adapted and began to deliver their meals to offices and homes.
It is about such challenges that our organization “UFV” talks with representatives of small and medium agribusiness in Ukraine at our open events, seminars, training workshops and strategic sessions. We work with the thinking of agribusiness owners and managers, because understanding global change will give them a strategic view of the development of their businesses.
We understand that in today’s uncertain environment, it is not individual players who survive and become stronger, but networks of partnerships that share a common goal and values. That’s why we’re working hard to build connections between different ecosystem players.
This year, due to worsening weather conditions, we conducted a series of interviews with agronomists from different cultures throughout Ukraine and are preparing podcasts on “The impact of climate change on approaches to agricultural production in Ukraine.” Let me give you an example, farmers from Odesa region told us about the catastrophic consequences of the drought in the South. They lost almost all grain crops and when they realized that the grain had burned, they tried to somehow correct the situation by reseeding the areas – sunflower, corn, millet. But it seems that spring crops in 2020 will also be unprofitable for farmers in Odessa, the region is on the verge of mass bankruptcy, and sowing in 2021 is under threat of failure.
More than half of the farms in the area have decided to take loans for reseeding, but as of today more than a quarter of the crops has already died, another quarter is in very poor condition and most likely there will be some losses.
Here is another comment from Serhiy Kolesnyk, an agronomist at the Canadian Seed Genetics Canadian Seed Company:
“As a result of the snowless winter, which caused a great drought across the country and a shortage of moisture, which did not provide even 50% of the average annual norm, Ukrainian agricultural producers were forced to reconsider their tillage.
In addition, this year Ukraine saw weathering of the fertile soil layer by 15 cm (it will take 15 years of competent agriculture to create a similar layer of chernozem!). Which together with the lack of moisture in critical phases for plants caused a crop shortage of almost 50%.
It is possible that there is a need for irrigated areas today, but Ukraine is not ready for this today, as it does not do anything to preserve water in its rivers.
It is important to note that breeders around the world today are working on varieties that are resistant to temperature stress and drought.
CONCLUSION: working with agribusiness practitioners, consultants, representatives of science, technology, international financial organizations, we hope to draw the attention of the public and the government to the problems of a simple farmer – the one who gives us bread.
Today, they need new business knowledge and ideas, technologies, support throughout the value chain and financing for green / sustainable agriculture, which will restore soil fertility and adapt its production to new climate challenges!”
The main theses of Marina Maslova’s speech:
“Sustainability Room is an educational platform for business, our main task is to change thinking. One of our projects in partnership with Adsapience is Earth Day Ukraine. To implement this project, we used an ecosystem approach, when all ecosystem players were involved, so libraries appeared in the project, as it is a network of more than 15,000 throughout Ukraine. And here our experience shows that just talking about the threats of climate change – it does not work very well. People are able to change their behavior based on their own emotions.
The situation with COVID-19 has shown us that such global events that we remember or read from history textbooks are a reality today. Everything unfolded very quickly, covering all countries, and thus bringing us closer to realizing that climate change with consequences is the same reality.
In Ukraine, we have our own challenges to climate change, which are strategically important. For example, the issue of water in a broad sense. If we do not see the big picture, then we underestimate the urgency of our own actions!
During COVID, business efforts were made from the point of view that it was all temporary, so decisions were made temporarily. But no one knows exactly how long this will last, so the need for innovation and change in managers’ approaches to decision-making has become very acute. An example of one of the filling stations: a paper coffee cup is placed in a disposable plastic bag. It’s a security measure, the company spends money, but it’s millions of packages a month in landfills! Such a solution is not sustainable in the long run, so it is the demand for innovation to address such a need in another way that is very relevant.
Also during the quarantine there were joint initiatives and cooperatives, businesses and non-profit organizations that delivered food, taxis that provided free transport for people 65+, it demonstrated the effectiveness of cooperation in a short time, it is in the cooperative there are many opportunities. I would very much like cooperatives to continue to be born and exist systematically, and this requires various platforms”.
The main theses of Mykola Volkogon’s speech:
“The position of farmers remains unchanged regardless of climate change or pandemic: “potatoes (like any other crop) should be planted, plowed, harvested”.
This year has shown that change can happen so quickly that those who have not adapted to it before can suffer irreparable damage.
Each region now provides examples of the fact that not all farmers are ready for new challenges, but there are farms that are experiencing problems, including those caused by COVID or drought, but they are coping quite well. Climate change is happening, but if the causes that provoke it are not eliminated, these problems will only deepen and have a greater negative impact.
For example, drought: no farmer can affect the amount of rainfall, and their amount decreases every year. In order for precipitation to occur, it must evaporate from the vegetation, if the land is over-plowed, there is a lack of green mass, so there is no rain as a consequence. For a business to be effective it is necessary to adapt to such changes, invest in technology, move away from the consumer approach and strategy of building a land bank, and pay attention to the soil: work on soil structure, optimize sowing campaign and crop rotation. When these basic things are solved – then you can think about innovative technology and irrigation.
Definitely, the strategy in agribusiness needs to change!”
Watch the event online: