Academy of Municipal Management, Kyiv, Ukraine
Title: Environmental safety of rural areas in Ukraine
Paper Type: Research Paper
City, Country: Kyiv, Ukraine
Authors: O. Datsiy
Substantiates the optimal ratio of production and the environment as a necessary condition for rural development. Certain circumstances environmental problems of rural areas that are characteristic of most villages.Rural areas are very different in natural conditions and types of economic activity. Most pollution of the environment in rural areas is done by the enterprises of mining and manufacturing production. However, agricultural production also generates significant environmental problems, the main factors of which are fertilizers, pesticides, intensive livestock waste. Rural territories have environmental problems that are typical for most rural communities.Society is interested not only in raising the level of food self-reliance of the country and recognition of the importance of agriculture, but also in the preservation of the historic way of life of rural population, environment and nature globally.Given that the overwhelming share of capital investment in agriculture is carried out by the producers themselves, then for the expansion of investment it is necessary to adjust the price, loan and tax state’s mechanisms towards increasing of the solvency of agricultural producers. To provide equipment for the manufacturers with low solvency there is a need to use leasing, clearing operations, and deferred payments. In addition, it is needed to expand the formation of multidisciplinary agricultural service cooperatives.
- Baranovski V. (2001). Environmental Geography and Environmental Cartography.Kyiv. Fitosotsiotsentr.
- Luzan Yu. (2010). Agricultural reform in Ukraine: status and prospects. JournalEconomy APC, № 4, 3-8.
- Ryzhuk S. (2009). State regulation of agricultural and transition to innovativedevelopment model. Journal Economy APC, № 7, 14-23.
- Osaulenko O. (2010). Rural Development of Ukraine. PPI Committee of Ukraine,Kyiv.
- Sabluk P. (2009). Guidelines for Development of a highly efficient agriculturalproduction in Ukraine. Journal Economy APC, № 7, 3-13.
- Shiyan D. (2010). Sustainable agricultural development: the emergence of the natureand content. Journal Economy APC, № 5, 35-41.
The main type of production in rural areas is agricultural production. The agricultural sector performs a number of socially necessary functions. It not only produces, but also ensures the reproduction of socially necessary values, which are not always quantifiable or cost estimate. If certain requirements are met, the agricultural sector makes a significant contribution to the vitality of rural areas, preserving the agricultural landscape, cultural heritage and agrobiologic diversity.
- Analysis of recent research
Recognized scientists in the research of rural areas’ development are Orlatyy M. (2010), Prokop I. (2008), Sabluk P. (2009), Yurchyshyn V. (2009) and other researchers.
- Statement of research objectives
– to substantiate the optimal ratio of production and the environment as a necessary condition for rural development;
– to identify the environmental conditions of rural areas that are typical for most villages.
Agriculture plays a vital role in maintaining soil fertility and protection of land against erosion and other negative effects of natural and man-made disasters. At the same time agriculture is essential for the economy of our country.
Firstly, the agricultural production of Ukraine provides Ukrainian population with food. Lack of food resources the country experienced in 2003 when it was not a harvest year and the country had to buy food resources and borrow them around the world. A similar situation but on a smaller scale took place in 2007. By the way, even presently the shortage of meat of domestic production and corresponding increase in prices on this product lead us to a conclusion that Ukraine has almost no large livestock enterprise commodity, and the country lacks meat resources.
Secondly, agriculture contributes to the development of other sectors of the economy (automobile and agricultural machinery, transport, services and food, fuel and energy sector). In the total volume of trade in the consumer market, the share attributable to food reaches 50%. It supports operational financial arteries of many sectors of the economy of Ukraine. Thus, agriculture is a cartoonist.
Thirdly, agriculture remains the main and sometimes the only economic activity and employment in rural areas, occupying about 2/3 of all land surfaces in Ukraine. Agriculture is the main component of the rural economy, that is, it creates the economic base of government in most rural areas of our country. It should be especially stressed in connection to the increase of the role of local governance in the future.
Agricultural production, which had the greatest potential compared with other sectors in the early 1990s to become the leader of reform, a powerful supplier of food products and raw materials for domestic and international markets, due to prolonged political debate actually had only recently entered a phase of market reforms.
Even after seventeen years of state independence and permanent agrarian reform there are considerable differences of opinion on the development of the economy in general and particularly agricultural production. There is a need to give a deep assessment of the present situation in agriculture sector in order to develop optimal ways of its development.
Agricultural production is under the influence of the crisis, and its material resource potential has decreased almost by half compared with 1991. To illustrate, in 1991 the share of agriculture reached 40.1% of gross domestic product, which was 95 billion rubles in comparable prices.
By this measure agro industrial complex was significantly ahead of metallurgy, engineering, chemical and forest sub complexes, provided 95% of food resources, and 2/3 of the total fund of consumer goods, it employed 7.6 million workers, or 31.5%, and its business assets were estimated at 89 billion rubles, or 30% of their total cost (Sabluk P., 2009).
But the third millennium the agricultural sector entered with such indicators as: 12 billion UAH of debt; the production of gross agricultural output was 48.5% from the percentage level of 1990, and livestock – 44.2%. Livestock and poultry decreased to critical limits. Most farms became unprofitable (in 1998 – 93%) and in general only the production of corn and sunflower remains profitable in Ukraine. Consumption of main foodstuffs has decreased by one third (Ryzhuk S., 2009).
Evaluating these negative trends, the government began to take decisive steps towards taking agriculture out of the crisis. In recent years, joint efforts of all branches of local governance vigorously carried out the change of ownership and active implementation of new organizational forms of management based on market economy. The Decree of the President of Ukraine “On Urgent Measures to Accelerate Agricultural Reform” from the 3rd of December, 1999 played a critical role in it. It launched a comprehensive system of large-scale measures that ensured the privatization of land and former state farms’ property and transformation of collective farms (kolkhoz) into private enterprises of market type.
Despite significant improvements there are many unsolved problems in agriculture in Ukraine. In 2009, agricultural production was only 61.4% of the level of 1990. Cattle stock as of February 1, 2010 was only 22.5% (and in agricultural enterprises – 9.1%) from the level of the end of 1990, respectively: cows – 36.9 (10.9) %, pigs – 34.7 (19.9)%, sheep – 21.7 (4.5)%. One thousand cattle farms were destroyed, and gross production of livestock products in 2009 was 50.2% (in farms only 28.7%) from the level of 1990. In 2009 in crop production total area of crops decreased by 20% (while in sugar beet – in 2.7 times, vineyards – in 1.9, fruit plantations – in 2.9, flax – in almost 7 times) compared with 1990. The relationship between business and personal sectors of agriculture changed significantly: in 1990 it amounted 72% to 28%, and in 2009 – 41% to 59% (Osaulenko O., 2010); (Shiyan D., 2010).
Many unprofitable farms, the lowest wages, the low level of use of agricultural land, relatively weak social protection of farmers compared with other sectors of the economy is present in agricultural sector. An important problem is to update the machine-tractor park, a technological reorientation of modern resource-saving technologies, and production of competitive products.
Economic activity is also done in rural areas, except agricultural enterprises, by the enterprises engaged in forestry and fisheries, mining and manufacturing, transport and construction companies, and recreation institutions. Most of these enterprises are in private ownership.
Reproduction and growth of productive capacity of agricultural sector of the economy is not possible without proper resourcing, so let us analyze in more detailed manner the possibility of reproducing and increasing the logistical capabilities, resources, labor and land.
Material and technical potential of rural areas depends on the level of the inflow of investments. According to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine to revive the agricultural sector of Ukrainian economy there is a need to invest 20-25 billion UAH in it annually. Only to increase the level of mechanization of agriculture, according to the calculations of the Institute of Agricultural Economics NAAN, 10 billion UAH are needed annually, and additionally 2.5 billion UAH for spare parts, repairs and maintenance.
To solve the problem of procurement of agricultural production it is foreseen:
- a partial compensation of agricultural machinery’s costs when it is purchased by the agricultural producers;
- the allocation of loans for the purchase of equipment with partial compensation of interest rates for farmers from the state budget;
- an allocation of funds from the state budget to purchase equipment under lease (Luzan Yu., 2010).
Improvement of usage of labor resources in agriculture is possible under the following conditions:
- formation of rational employment in agricultural production to ensure proper performance of work;
- introduction of an effective mechanism to motivate effective work.
Employment rate in agricultural production is currently redundant, with significant hidden unemployment. The volume of agricultural production compared to 1990 decreased almost twice, and the share of population employed in agriculture stabilized at the level of 1/5 of all working-age population (which is several times higher than in developed countries).
Most of the farmers who work in private household farms are not fully loaded with work and therefore do not have sufficient revenues. Sufficient level of revenues can be achieved by extending the land for farming, increasing the amount of loans, improving financial and technical support, logistics, selling agricultural products produced and creating additional job positions not related to agricultural production.
Question of legal registration of employment in the private commercial farms (determining the order of seniority, social security and pensions) also requires solving. For the improvement of the efficiency of
agricultural labor, high-quality reproduction of the labor potential it is necessary to increase the potential wages in this sector. Despite the lowest among other sectors levels of wages in agricultural sector of the economy in Ukraine, it still remains one of the main sources of income for rural residents. To increase the income of rural residents the improvement of the current system of payment for the job done is needed as well as the improvement of the efficiency of the agricultural production. To meet the abovementioned goal it is also needed to restore the parity prices for industrial and agricultural products and to develop new forms of farms.
Potential of land resources in Ukraine may grant our country a chance to take an important place among suppliers of agricultural production in the world food market. However, to achieve this it is necessary to invest money in land protection and restoration of soil fertility. Numbers of measures of legal, environmental, economic, organizational and managerial nature are needed to implement the abovementioned goal.
To establish a stable legal framework for the land use it is necessary to ensure the strengthening of the public administration bodies of land protection, to organize a national system of control over rational use of land and to complete the development and adoption of comprehensive legislation on land protection in Ukraine.
One of the areas of sustainable land use is a gradual withdrawal of degraded lands from cultivation, dangerous plots of land erosion, and steep slopes. In Ukraine the rate of land tilled soil is one of the highest in the world, water erosion extended to the area of 10.6 million hectares of arable land, almost half of the arable land is under the influence of planar erosion (slopes greater than 1 degree) (Ryzhuk S., 2009). On the protection of land and rational use of land (construction of structures against erosion, landslide, avalanche, and for the protection of the coast, the creation of protective forest strips, terracing of steep slopes, reclamation of land) about 35 million UAH are spent annually. In our opinion, it is better and more rational to withdraw part of land from the active cultivation. Depending on its condition it is possible to use this part of land taken out of active cultivation with such alternative methods of their use: conversion to natural feed lands, forestation, creation of ponds, and temporary withdrawal from circulation to improve the quality of land with its further return to the arable land, and so on.
An important problem remains to be the decline of humus content in soils in Ukraine. To improve its content, it is needed to increase the amount of organic fertilizers in the land and to use such technologies that improve humus content in soils. It is also necessary to actively use economic mechanisms for stimulation of the land protection activities among agricultural producers:
- penalties for land degradation;
- exemption of farms from taxes in the amount of money invested in land protection;
- providing government subsidies to agricultural producers for purchasing environment safe techniques and technologies;
- concessional loans to enterprises that invest their own funds in the measures for reproduction of land, protection of land, and reclamation of land.
- Protection is needed not only to land, but also to air, water, flora and fauna resources, and all environments surrounding a person. The combination of these problems explores ecology.Ecology is complex of issues related to human interaction with the environment, including economic, legal, engineering, technological, ethical and other aspects of this problem. Ecology is not just a science but also an ideology that permeates all areas of science and human activity. Its main goal is to optimize the interaction between society and nature, which prevents imbalance of natural systems and thus the conditions of society’s vital functions (Baranovski V., 2001).For humans nature is an environment of life and a source of livelihood. Optimal environment is a normal state of nature with normal operating processes of substances’ turnover and energy flows.Human activity affects the environment, and this effect increases with the development of society and the increasing weight of substances that are involved in production. Human impact on the environment became so large that it had turned into a threat to breach the existing balance in nature and an obstacle to further development of productive forces.People have been perceiving nature as an inexhaustible source of material wealth for a long time. But the negative consequences of human impact on nature gradually convinced humanity of the necessity of environmental protection and rational use of its resources, including in respect of rural areas.
Rural territories have environmental problems associated with the following circumstances that are typical for most rural communities:
- the human impact on large areas (virtually 100% of areas experience human impact);
- small percentage of forest area and insignificant percentage of area under the meadows;
- high level of soils’ erosion;
- contamination of soil and water reservoirs with fertilizers and pesticides.
It is important to determine the degree of stability of ecological systems to anthropogenic influences. Resistance rises from the sandy soil to clay soil, from alkaline to acidic soils, with an increase of the annual moisture and an increase of the biological productivity of plant communities – both natural and cultural. Destruction of forests increases washed away soil, leads to silting of rivers, reservoirs, and flood arrays. The active migration of chemical elements in ravines of the reservoir leads to pollution of surface waters. And such pollution can be extremely toxic, because elements such as mercury, strontium, lead, cadmium, zinc are the most mobile in most soil types, and therefore are the most dangerous ones.
- Baranovski V. (2001). Environmental Geography and Environmental Cartography. Kyiv. Fitosotsiotsentr.
- Luzan Yu. (2010). Agricultural reform in Ukraine: status and prospects. Journal Economy APC, № 4, 3-8.
- Ryzhuk S. (2009). State regulation of agricultural and transition to innovative development model. Journal Economy APC, № 7, 14-23.
- Osaulenko O. (2010). Rural Development of Ukraine. PPI Committee of Ukraine, Kyiv.
- Sabluk P. (2009). Guidelines for Development of a highly efficient agricultural production in Ukraine. Journal Economy APC, № 7, 3-13.
- Shiyan D. (2010). Sustainable agricultural development: the emergence of the nature and content. Journal Economy APC, № 5, 35-41.