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Strong Producer Organizations Key to a Vibrant Farming Sector

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Scaling up agricultural production among small farmers through clustering and organizing them into cooperatives and various types of producers’ organizations, and forging partnerships with agribusiness firms can help raise their incomes and subsequently spur the socio-economic transformation of the Philippine countryside.

A report titled “Realizing Scale in Smallholder-Based Agriculture: Policy Options for the Philippines” – launched jointly by the World Bank and the Department of Agriculture (DA) – said that there are rich lessons in the country and abroad for these clustering and consolidation of activities on-farm and along the value chain to succeed and transform the agricultural sector.

One notable example of this approach, the report said, is the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), which is currently implemented by the DA. The PRDP clusters or organizes producers into enterprises that take a business-oriented approach to farming and fishing, supported through complementary investments in infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads, irrigation, post-harvest facilities, and cold storage.

“To succeed, efforts at clustering and consolidation needs to be voluntary, built on trust and confidence, and collaborative relationships among stakeholders—whether they are farmers, communities, municipalities, other local government units, or small and larger agribusiness enterprises,” said Ndiame Diop, World Bank Country Director Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

“Where different approaches to clustering land management are not feasible, support for the mechanization of farming and post-harvest operations may be an alternative or complementary strategy for smallholder-based systems to increase farmer productivity and incomes, both on and off the farm,” Diop said.

Philippine agriculture is dominated by small farmers and fishers who operate independently, mostly using traditional production practices and earning low incomes. A typical farmer earns an average of P100,000 pesos each year, well below the poverty line (based on 2015 PSA figures).

Average farm size declined from three hectares (ha) per family per holding in the 1980s to only 0.9 ha per family per holding in 2012. These increasingly smaller farms are often split into more fragmented blocks. The country has some 5.56 million farms, totaling 7.2 million hectares, of which more than half (57 percent) are one ha or less, 32 percent are one to three ha, 9 percent are three to seven ha, and only two percent are seven ha or larger.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar has highlighted that using modern technology, schemes like block farming, trust farming, and contract farming can make farming more efficient and profitable for farmers and their partners in agribusiness ventures. With higher and better-quality production, linking agriculture to the domestic and global manufacturing sectors and accessing markets become easier, he said.

“Finding opportunities for clustering and consolidation of small and medium-sized farms as well as partnerships with agribusiness enterprises – to bring about economies of scale (and lower per-unit cost of production), particularly for crops that require mechanization and extensive use of technology – is part of the ‘new thinking’ of the Department of Agriculture,” said Secretary Dar.

“We want to collectively empower farmers, fisherfolk, and the private sector to increase agricultural productivity and profitability, taking into account sustainability and resilience,” the DA chief added.

Global experience shows that forcing collaboration among farmers and agribusiness enterprises through decree or subsidies (top-down approach) usually does not work but those that emerge from farmers’ bottoms up collective initiatives yield good results.

The report says that the country can explore various arrangements based on global experiences, including:

  • Realizing scale in primary production. In the Philippines, perhaps the most promising areas to pursue clustering can be among selected irrigation schemes where water user associations are already well established; and within Agrarian Reform Communities supported by the Department of Agrarian Reform.
  • Supporting market-oriented producer organizations. Encouraging the growth of cooperatives and producer organizations. In the East Asia region, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have had especially rich experiences promoting farmer groups or cooperatives.
  • Fostering contract farming, productive alliances, or other linkages between farmers groups and agricultural enterprises. These are well understood in the Philippines and can be scaled up.

Elsewhere in the region, contract farming has become increasingly common in some value chains, including value chains for specialized rice varieties or rice production systems.

Finance

F.B.I. Official’s Indictment Shows oligarch infiltrated the highest echelons of the government

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The search for kompromat on his opponent in a conflict with shareholders was highly regarded by Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska.

That is the conclusion that can be drawn from studying the F.B.I indictment against Charles McGonigal, who, according to the indictment, headed the counterintelligence unit at the bureau’s New York field office. McGonigal, 54, is a former high-ranking F.B.I. official, who was involved in counterintelligence work and investigations against Russian oligarchs.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York accused him of circumventing sanctions and conspiracy to launder funds. Mr. Deripaska is mentioned in almost every paragraph of the 21-page document. The indictment, signed by prosecutor Damian Williams, says efforts to remove Deripaska from the U.S. sanctions list were made by McGonigal in 2019. The payment is $25,000 a month through a shell firm.

Mr. Deripaska, the aluminum magnate, has been on the radar of U.S. authorities for years and is still under sanctions. The Treasury Department said he had ties to organized crime.

Rebecca Davis O’Brien covers law enforcement and courts in New York wrote: For years, Mr. Deripaska, 55, has employed a small army of lobbyists, lawyers, consultants and fixers to protect his business and personal interests and smooth his access to Western countries.

For 2021, the New York federal prosecutor’s office indicted a number of these individuals for helping to circumvent sanctions.

The name of the person against whom the former F.B.I. agent, obviously not without the help of his colleagues, was supposed to collect sensitive information is not disclosed. In the document, he appears under the code name Oligarch-2. However, behind this wording, it could be guessed Vladimir Potanin, who is an opponent of Mr. Deripaska in the long-running shareholder dispute at Norilsk Nickel.

Mr. Deripaska tried to find dirty evidence on his competitor, possibly lobbying also for the inclusion of his competitor’s companies on sanctions lists in order to weaken his position in the corporation, which they both own roughly equal shares of.

It is not clear from the indictment how Mr. McGonigal got onto Mr. Deripaska’s radar.

According to the indictment against Mr. McGonigal, while he was still working for the bureau in 2018, Sergey Shestakov – a former Soviet and Russian diplomat and translator who was also charged in the case – introduced Mr. McGonigal by email to an employee of Mr. Deripaska. That person was identified in the charges as Agent-1 and described as a former Soviet and Russian Federation diplomat.

In 2017, the Associated Press published an article alleging that Mr. Deripaska paid $10 million to American lobbyist Paul Manafort in 2007-2009 to promote his interests in the United States. Almost at the same time, NBC cover a story about a $60 million loan that Deripaska’s structures allegedly gave to Manafort-affiliated companies.

Mr. Deripaska got rich, in the 1990s, when there was a struggle for control of the largest subsoil resources of the Soviet Union and gained a reputation as a ruthless man with a bad reputation.

He also built relationships with politicians and other key figures in countries in the West, especially in Britain, Europe, and the United States, including hosting parties at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

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7 ways to earn cryptocurrency without risks

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Today we will talk about earning opportunities with the help of cryptocurrencies and technologies related to them.

AirDrops

The first and very effective way to earn cryptocurrency without risks and large investments are AirDrop.

Usually, this is a marketing strategy through which the authors of this or that cryptocurrency can thank their users with real money (cryptocurrency). For authors, AirDrop is an opportunity to distribute new key tokens to existing users who will be interested in a new free coin in their portfolio. Also, this is a way to advertise and interest the crypto community in the new project.

A very famous AirDrop case that happened quite recently is the Uniswap Airdrop. There they gave each user of this decentralized exchange 400 UNI (approximately $16,000 at the peak of the token price). Pretty good, huh?

Where to find new AirDrops?

Very interesting AirDrops can be found on CoinMarketCap and the site dedicated to AirDrops — AirDrop.io.

If you are looking for an even easier way to earn crypto – visit BTC 360 ai app       

Staking

Another very effective, but costly, way of earning new cryptocurrencies is staking.

It is a process in which the user locks his cryptocurrency in his wallet to maintain the activity of the blockchain on the PoS (Proof of Stake) algorithm. In other words, this is just a type of mining, but the difference from the everyday PoW algorithm, where money is given for the computing power of the system, is that here the money practically does not depend on the computing power of the system, but depends on the number of tokens you have.

The largest currencies that use this algorithm are Solana, Etherium (2.0), Cardano, which on average bring the user 5% annually. This is not a very large amount, but if you take into account that the cryptocurrency itself does not stand still, then instead of keeping the cryptocurrency in your wallet idle, why not make this cryptocurrency “work for you” and bring in additional money?

You can see all the up-to-date information on the rewards you will receive for staking various tokens here.

Proof of Work

The third way of making money is traditional mining, or PoW (Proof of Work). This is a more complicated way to earn on cryptocurrencies than the second way because here you have to physically go (or order online) and buy the necessary things for mining.

What are these things?

It depends on what you are going to mine. In the case of Ethereum (1.0), these are video cards (which are practically nowhere to be found anyway), in the case of Bitcoin, these are ASICs. You also have to keep in mind whether mining will be profitable for you with your electricity prices, and what to do with the heat and noise these machines generate. Although this is a more complicated method than PoS, it usually brings much more money to its user.

You can calculate your earnings on this site.

Providing Liquidity

Another, slightly riskier, but more profitable than regular staking is liquidity supply.

Your goal is to supply two coins (50% of the value of one and 50% of the value of the other) and earn increased percentages compared to normal staking. But there are several “buts”, for example, you lose some coins if these coins are quite volatile.

It will take a long time to describe in more detail, but I advise you to read about it here using the example of SushiSwap.

You can supply liquidity on Binance, Uniswap, or other decentralized platforms.

Faucets

The next method is quite easy, but it’s usually not very profitable. These are faucets.

This name is not adapted to our language, but the essence of it is that it is a process where users give rewards for taking a survey or reading an article. This helps the developer to spread their cryptocurrency and the user to earn from it. The American crypto-wallet Coinbase, which gave and still gives rewards for the fact that the user read the article and answered questions from it, very popularized this type of earnings. Quite recently you could get about $80 out of it, which is pretty good.

Centralized Investments

Centralized investment is a way to earn on crypto that cannot be staked (as in the 2nd point). It works very similar to how you put dollars/hryvnias as a deposit, but instead of fiat you can put Bitcoin or, for example, Monero. You can make these investments on Binance or BTI.LIVE.

Work in Crypto

The seventh and final point is simply to become a developer in the field of cryptocurrencies. You don’t need to have a “big idea” of cryptocurrency that will revolutionize the industry, but it is enough to get a job with a company that already exists on the market. But you will need knowledge of Smart Contract programming languages (Solidity, for example). Knowledge of English will not hurt either. And if you don’t know any programming languages yet, you can try to get a job, for example, in the Binance support team, and start developing yourself there. Lots of opportunities, but we need your motivation!

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Brazil and Argentina preparing new Latin American currency to ‘reduce reliance on US dollar’

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Image source: ndtv.com

The governments of Brazil and Argentina are making plans to create a new currency for Latin America, called the Sur (“south” in English), according to a report in the Financial Times.

Other countries in the region will be invited to use the currency.

Their goal is to “boost regional trade and reduce reliance on the US dollar”, the newspaper noted, citing government officials.

Argentina’s Economic Minister Sergio Massa told the Financial Times that the South American nations will soon “start studying the parameters needed for a common currency, which includes everything from fiscal issues to the size of the economy and the role of central banks”.

Brazil has the largest economy in Latin America, and Argentina has the third biggest (after Mexico).

Argentina-based Spanish economist Alfredo Serrano Manc, who directs a think tank dedicated to regional integration, the Latin American Strategic Center of Geopolitics (CELAG), told the Financial Times that “the path is to find mechanisms which substitute the dependence on the dollar”.

He added that now is the moment, given that “there are many governments that are ideologically similar”, with left-wing leaders across Latin America.

During his electoral campaign, Lula had floated the possibility of creating a regional currency for trade.

At a rally in May 2022, the Workers’ Party leader had said, “We are going to create a currency in Latin America, because we can’t keep depending on the dollar”.

Lula revealed that it would be called the Sur. He added that it would not be based on the euro model, and that countries could maintain their sovereign domestic currency. Instead, the plan would be to use the Sur for regional trade, Lula said.

After Lula won the October 2022 election, Ecuador’s left-wing politician and economist Andrés Arauz published a blueprint for a “new regional financial architecture” for Latin America.

Arauz said the plan would be to revive regional institutions like the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Banco del Sur (Bank of the South), and to create a Banco Central del Sur (Central Bank of the South) to oversee the new currency.

The goal is “to harmonize the payment systems of” the countries that make up UNASUR in order “to carry out inter-bank transfers to any bank inside of the region in real time and from a cellphone”, he wrote.

Today, Argentina is trapped in $44 billion of debt with the US-dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF). This dollar-denominated foreign debt has led to a constant drain of foreign currency out of Argentina, fueling high levels of inflation.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández visited China and Russia in February 2022, seeking alternatives to the US-dominated financial system, and joining Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Argentina has also applied to join the extended BRICS+ bloc, with Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Buenos Aires attended the group’s 2022 summits at Beijing’s invitation.

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