What does a wheat farmer in Canada have in common with a yam producer in Ghana?
It sounds like the start of a bad joke.
But the answer is simple….” more than you think”. And it’s our commonalities that have brought us together in the forum we call the Global Farmer Network, where farmer members share their necessity for trade and access to technology.
En el segle XXI, farmers everywhere must learn to communicate with each other. We have to exchange ideas and information about opportunities and challenges so that all of us can grow the food, fuel and fiber that is required for our growing world population needs.
That’s why I’m listening to Lydia Sasu and her experience in Ghana from my farm in Saskatchewan: Just as I’m bracing for a new season of drought, she’s worried about climate change. Si res més, we can inspire each other to be the best farmers we can be.
La xarxa Global pagès (GFN), connects farmers on every continent. What we all share is a desire to improve our prospects as we strive to feed the world, trade what we grow and access new technology. Recentment, we shared our goals for 2019 in an online forum.
A la superfície, we’re different in dozens of ways, from the type of crops we grow to the places where we grow them. Kees Huizinga of Ukraine reminded the GFN in his e-mail that his country is fighting a war with Russia. I may be frustrated by the trade wars of North America, but at least I don’t have to worry about the shooting wars that are an unfortunate fact of life for my Ukrainian friend.
Yet Kees has a plan amidst this adversity: “We keep on building our dairy farm and vegetable farm” because this “creates jobs and stability for Ukraine.”
Això és el que tots volem fer i ha de fer: Fins i tot en les més dures de vegades, a continuar construint.
Per a molts de nosaltres, Això significa comerç internacional. Volem continuar construint el nostre negoci amb la resta del món.
Prendre Gina Gutierrez, a dairy farmer from Mexico who shares that the new government is their biggest challenge right now. Joining the conversation, va parlar sobre l'escassetat de combustible en 7-8 Estats mexicans, incloent-hi la seva, and its impact on a number of food supply chains that are already suffering fuel scarcity. “Fruits and vegetables that can’t be shipped away are going bad in warehouses. Els EUA podria haver d'afrontar un Super Bowl sense guacamole, perquè l'estat de Michoacán (el major productor de alvocat) es veu molt afectada!”
El meu camarada canadenc Jake Leguee assenyala el fet que des de casa nostra a les províncies occidentals, "Estem molt lluny dels oceans." Això crea grans proves logístics: "Cada nucli de blat, colza, llenties, i així ha de viatjar milers i milers de milles per arribar al seu mercat." Quedar-se competitiva, we Canadian farmers have to obsess over our transportation system.
A Austràlia, Bill Crabtree also wants to work across oceans. He’s about to embark on a trip to Africa to share agronomic expertise and search for new markets. He’ll travel to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, where perhaps he’ll meet Charles Chenza, a corn grower who recently tried to expand his exports on a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo. But political barriers are getting in the way: Zambia wants to impose expensive transit fees.
Bill is already in touch with another member of the Global Farmer Network: Patience Koku of Nigeria, who grows seed corn. “Patience,” he wrote on our web forum, “I am still keen to see what can be done with helping getting the genes you need.” With the right kind of seeds, he predicts that new technologies will “snowball across all of Africa.”
Snowballs in Africa: That must be some technology!
Tal com succeeix, many of us hope to tap into the amazing power of technology in 2019. Jaypal Reddy of India says he’s planning to use new technology to boost his ability to grow rice and cotton. In South Africa, Motlatsi Musi hopes to improve a technology he already possesses: He’s going to fix or replace his old tractors. A Nova Zelanda, sheep farmer Mel Poulton has similar goals. She plans to do “more DNA chipping to trace parentage with one of our sheep flocks.”
Marcos Guigou of Uruguay has some of the boldest plans. He describes his desire “to start up a stronger system in precision technology” that will allow him to make field-by-field measurements of productivity. Even more impressive is what he plans to do with a traceability system in meat. Here’s what he envisions: “In a few months, a restaurant customer can sit down to try a wide steak and can with his phone know where that cut comes from” as well as other sourcing details.
These farmer friends I’ve made have inspired me and I head into this new year with new-found energy. From all over the world, farmers are communicating and collaborating—and by the time 2019 is done, we’ll all be better at what we do.