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World, Volume 4, Issue 2 (June 2023) – 9 articles

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Editorial
Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development: Reflecting Awareness, Understanding and Activities in Rural Areas
World 2023, 4(2), 360-367; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4020023 - 14 Jun 2023
Viewed by 952
Abstract
What does rural development policy aim to achieve, and how does it go about it [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Opportunities for Rural Development)
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Article
Quantifying the Economic Impact on Farmers from Agricultural Machinery: A Case Study of Farmers in Sudan
World 2023, 4(2), 347-359; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4020022 - 08 Jun 2023
Viewed by 737
Abstract
The adoption of agricultural technologies in developing economy countries has the potential to reduce poverty through sustainable intensification. Mechanized farming can also improve perceptions of farming and mitigate rural out-migration. However, many traditional farmers do not have access to machinery and/or machinery is [...] Read more.
The adoption of agricultural technologies in developing economy countries has the potential to reduce poverty through sustainable intensification. Mechanized farming can also improve perceptions of farming and mitigate rural out-migration. However, many traditional farmers do not have access to machinery and/or machinery is cost prohibitive. The objective of this paper is to quantify how the use of machinery affects costs, revenue, net-profits, and returns on investment for a case study of farmers in Sudan, Africa. A treatment control study (N = 36) was performed across the 2019 (baseline), 2020, and 2021 farming seasons, where the treatment group was provided tractors. ANOVAs and t-tests were used to compare financial values between these groups across the farming seasons, to quantify economic differences associated with farming machinery. We show that all farmers had similar net-profits when farming without machinery, while mechanized farming yielded significantly higher net-profits (USD 16.61/acre more in 2020, USD 27.10/acre more in 2021). Our study also finds that the volatility of the black-market exchange rate and labor shortages have a significant impact on farming net-profits. These results provide a quantified difference between farming with and without machinery, which can provide a financial basis for purchasing and borrowing models, machinery design requirements, and educational value to farmers. Full article
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Article
The Health Silk Road: A Double-Edged Sword? Assessing the Implications of China’s Health Diplomacy
World 2023, 4(2), 333-346; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4020021 - 01 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1283
Abstract
The Health Silk Road (HSR) of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China aims to enhance public health and foster international cooperation in the healthcare sector. HSR objectives include strengthening healthcare infrastructure, expanding China’s global health leadership, and enhancing international health cooperation. [...] Read more.
The Health Silk Road (HSR) of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China aims to enhance public health and foster international cooperation in the healthcare sector. HSR objectives include strengthening healthcare infrastructure, expanding China’s global health leadership, and enhancing international health cooperation. The aim of this study was to examine the HSR and its implications for global health and international relations by using expert opinion analysis on known major HSR initiatives. We analyzed the objectives of HSR, including improving healthcare infrastructure, enhancing global health cooperation, and expanding China’s global health leadership. Additionally, as a case study, an in-depth analysis of the China-Pakistan collaboration on healthcare under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was conducted. This research posits that the HSR has a mix of positive and negative implications. Positive impacts of HSR include improved healthcare services, infrastructure, and capacity-building in participating countries. The main challenges include the quality and sustainability of the infrastructure and services provided, debt sustainability, transparency of projects, and China’s geopolitical influence. This research identified five motives behind China’s HSR: economic interests, diplomatic influence, reputation building, regional stability, and health security. The summary centers on CPEC and the WHO/Global collaboration. This research contributes to a nuanced understanding of the HSR’s multifaceted impacts and underscores the importance of open dialogue, cooperation, and the sharing of best practices among stakeholders. By assessing the motives, implications, and concerns of the HSR, this study offers valuable insights for policymakers, global health practitioners, and scholars, highlighting the significance of international collaboration. Full article
Article
Indigenous Food Yam Cultivation and Livelihood Practices in Cross River State, Nigeria
World 2023, 4(2), 314-332; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4020020 - 29 May 2023
Viewed by 1493
Abstract
Yam production, processing, distribution, and marketing processes are underpinned by socio-cultural beliefs shaped by ritual practices and indigenous wisdom. We used semi-structured interviews, public meetings, keen observation, local informants, and a review of secondary materials to assess local indigenous understanding of interconnected perspectives [...] Read more.
Yam production, processing, distribution, and marketing processes are underpinned by socio-cultural beliefs shaped by ritual practices and indigenous wisdom. We used semi-structured interviews, public meetings, keen observation, local informants, and a review of secondary materials to assess local indigenous understanding of interconnected perspectives of yam farming processes, socio-cultural perspectives, and livelihood practices in communities in southern Nigeria. Our findings revealed that over 90% of farmers depend on experiences of adjusting to seasonal challenges, storage practices, and fertility enhancement. Cultural beliefs and spiritual practices pervade farmers’ social attitudes to improving farming operations. Almost 70% of yam producers are aged 60 years and above and depend on crude tools and traditional methods of land management and production process, even though the modern and innovative farming methods and practices are limited. Farmers respond to the poor public support system of extension services by informal networking and local associational relationships with diverse schemes to support and encourage members. Government and organizations should take advantage of these informal structures to empower farmers through micro-credits, education, information, training, supervision, and mechanization. Different groups of actors organized into formal social structures like cooperatives will take advantage of bulk buying, selling, transportation, access fundings, information, education, and training from public and non-governmental institutions. The study findings have demonstrated that the socio-economic structure of the Obudu community has developed extensively on account of decades of yam production and processing, supporting chains of a livelihood network, entrepreneurship, and relationships of mutual cooperation and co-existence. Full article
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Systematic Review
Applications of Artificial Intelligence Models in Educational Analytics and Decision Making: A Systematic Review
World 2023, 4(2), 288-313; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4020019 - 19 May 2023
Viewed by 1700
Abstract
Education plays a critical role in society as it promotes economic development through human capital, reduces crime, and improves general well-being. In any country, especially in the developing ones, its presence on the political agenda is necessary. Despite recent educational advances, those developing [...] Read more.
Education plays a critical role in society as it promotes economic development through human capital, reduces crime, and improves general well-being. In any country, especially in the developing ones, its presence on the political agenda is necessary. Despite recent educational advances, those developing countries have increased enrollments, but academic performance has fallen far short of expectations. According to international evaluations, Latin American countries have made little progress in recent years, considering the level of investment in education. Thus, Artificial Intelligence (AI) models, which deal with data differently from traditional analysis methods, can be an option to better understand educational dynamics and detect patterns. Through a literature review using the PRISMA methodology, we investigated how AI has been used to evaluate educational performance in basic education (elementary and high school) in several countries. We searched five platforms, resulting in a total of 19,114 works retrieved, and 70 articles included in the review. Among the main findings of this study, we can mention: (i) low adherence to the use of AI methodology in education for practical actions; (ii) restriction of analyzes to specific datasets; (iii) most studies focus on computational methodology and not on the meaning of the results for education; and (iv) a less trend to use AI methods, especially in Latin America. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated educational challenges, highlighting the need for innovative solutions. Given the gap in the use of AI in education, we propose its methods for global academic evaluation as a means of supporting public policy-making and resource allocation. We estimate that these methods may yield better results more quickly, enabling us to better address the urgent needs of students and educators worldwide. Full article
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Review
Advancing the Welfare of People and the Planet with a Common Agenda for Reproductive Justice, Population, and the Environment
World 2023, 4(2), 259-287; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4020018 - 06 May 2023
Viewed by 2187
Abstract
Driven by increasing consumption and population numbers, human demands are depleting natural resources essential to support human life, causing damage to crop lands, fresh water supplies, fisheries, and forests, and driving climate change. Within this century, world population could increase by as little [...] Read more.
Driven by increasing consumption and population numbers, human demands are depleting natural resources essential to support human life, causing damage to crop lands, fresh water supplies, fisheries, and forests, and driving climate change. Within this century, world population could increase by as little as 15% or by more than 50%, depending largely on how we respond. We must face the challenge of accommodating these additional people at the same time as virtually eliminating the use of fossil fuels and other activities that generate greenhouse gases, reversing environmental degradation and supporting improved living standards for billions of impoverished people. The response to this challenge is handicapped by a lack of common understanding and an integrated agenda among those contributing to the response. This report offers a strategy to protect natural systems and improve welfare through expansion of reproductive justice, a concept that includes family planning, reproductive health, and gender equity, and preservation of the environment and climate. Full article
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Article
Energy Use Patterns of Pearl Millet (Pennisetumglaucum (L.)) Production in Haryana, India
World 2023, 4(2), 241-258; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4020017 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1469
Abstract
Pearl millet (Pennisetumglaucum (L.)) is the fifth most important cereal crop in the world after rice, wheat, maize and sorghum. A resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 3 March 2021 decided to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets. [...] Read more.
Pearl millet (Pennisetumglaucum (L.)) is the fifth most important cereal crop in the world after rice, wheat, maize and sorghum. A resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 3 March 2021 decided to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets. Millet has been promoted due to its nutritional value and low irrigation requirement. In this study, pearl millet was selected for energy auditing, and its production amount is a direct function of energy input. The production of pearl millet needs to be augmented to fulfill an increasing demand. Pearl millet is produced using various sources of energy. This study was conducted to examine the energy use pattern of different categories of farmers, such as small, medium and large, for pearl millet production in Hisar district, Haryana, India. The energy was distributed in different operations, including preparatory tillage, sowing, interculture, fertilizer, irrigation, pesticide, harvesting, threshing and transportation. The source-wise energy (direct and indirect) and operation-wise energy consumption were calculated for all categories of farmers. The average energy input of small, medium and large farmers was 2849.09 MJ.ha−1, 3027.21 MJ.ha−1 and 4021.50 MJ.ha−1, respectively. The highest energy was consumed in fertilizer application (52%), with the lowest in seed (2%). The energy ratios of small, medium and large farmers were 3.92, 9.40 and 13.80, respectively. This study could improve the agricultural production systems of pearl millet regarding the energy values of the inputs and outputs. Full article
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Article
Emission Reduction via Fossil Fuel Subsidy Removal and Carbon Pricing, Creating Synergies with Revenue Recycling
World 2023, 4(2), 225-240; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4020016 - 13 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1088
Abstract
The removal of fossil fuel subsidies and the introduction of carbon pricing have been discussed for more than a decade, but their potential contribution to emission reduction is still uncertain, especially in relation to the potential indirect impact of revenue recycling. We have [...] Read more.
The removal of fossil fuel subsidies and the introduction of carbon pricing have been discussed for more than a decade, but their potential contribution to emission reduction is still uncertain, especially in relation to the potential indirect impact of revenue recycling. We have created a simulation model, GSI-IF, designed to assess the emission reduction potential resulting from removing fossil fuel subsidies and recycling part of the avoided subsidy and additional revenue from carbon pricing to renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our results show that emissions could decline by 7.1% in 2030 and up to 19.8% in 2050 compared to a baseline scenario. We find that subsidy removal is most effective in reducing emissions in countries with a high incidence of fossil fuel subsidies and it has stronger impact in the short term. The recycling of carbon pricing is most relevant for larger economies and its impact accumulates over time, generating growing GHG reductions year after year. In the current context (year 2022) with high energy prices, heavy stress on fiscal balances, and the renewed ambition of most governments to reduce emissions toward Net Zero in 2050, subsidy removal and carbon pricing hold promise in the toolbox of decarbonization options while improving fiscal sustainability. Full article
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Article
Teaching Complex and Controversial Issues: Importance of In-Situ Experiences in Changing Perceptions of Global Challenges
World 2023, 4(2), 214-224; https://doi.org/10.3390/world4020015 - 29 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1808
Abstract
Engaging people with controversial and emotive issues that are inherently complex is challenging, especially when those issues are multifaceted or multidisciplinary, span environmental, economic, social, and political contexts, are global in scope, or where circumstances and implications differ spatially. Teaching such issues requires [...] Read more.
Engaging people with controversial and emotive issues that are inherently complex is challenging, especially when those issues are multifaceted or multidisciplinary, span environmental, economic, social, and political contexts, are global in scope, or where circumstances and implications differ spatially. Teaching such issues requires teachers and learners to navigate a challenging landscape of nuance and conflicting perspectives; immersive place-based learning might facilitate more meaningful exploration of such issues, but this has not previously been studied. In a multi-institution international study, we surveyed 164 participants (12 groups; 9 institutions) before and after an immersive fieldtrip in South Africa to assess perceptions on contentious issues. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests showed that participants had statistically significant opinion shifts for 17 of 18 statements, including those where change was likely due to improved knowledge or indicative of deeper attitude shifts. Generalised Linear Modelling revealed that propensity for opinion shifts was not influenced by demographics (age, gender), location (country of origin) or trip type (formal or informal). We conclude that in an increasingly complex world, context-relevant immersive experiences that facilitate deep learning by providing opportunities to explore contentious issues in situ are an ever-more valuable tool, not just for attainment but also for developing personal perspectives and as a catalyst for societal transitions. Full article
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