‘Being a farmer is not for everyone’

The global agricultural industry has made enormous progress during the past few centuries. The industry is still developing further with new production techniques, new cultivars and more and more innovative technologies. But one thing is still the same: as farmers, we’re very dependent on the weather. It can be our best friend as well as our worst enemy.

While some regions in the northern hemisphere are struggling with either heavy rain or intense heat, down here in Brazil, we’re experiencing one of the coldest winters in decades. I read that some farmers have lost their entire production of crops like coffee, maize and soya beans.

The same is true for flower growers. Andradas, Atibaia and Munhoz, the main production regions for cut flowers, are severely affected by the cold weather. The floriculture sector relies heavily on events and corporate business. Now that Brazil is making progress with the vaccinations against Covid-19, and celebrations and events are returning, it had slowly started to recover. The low temperatures mean another setback.

Even in Holambra, usually a little warmer than the regions I mentioned before, I’ve seen frost in several places. For the first time in years. Some growers with outdoor crops have been taking measures to stop their flowers from freezing during the coldest nights. I grow a few different types of impatiens in the open field myself, so I had to sacrifice some sleep too. I got up at night and watered the flowers to prevent frost damage.

In addition to the climate, Brazilian farmers are struggling with politics. We’re going through a very extreme phase at many different levels, and the uncertainties are increasing. But that’s a topic for some other time.

One thing that’s certain is that being a farmer can be hard. On the 28th of July, Brazil celebrated the Day of the Farmer, so to all farmers, not just in Brazil but all over the world, I’d like to say: ‘Never lose hope’. The toughest moments often teach us the best lessons. When it comes to courage, determination and how to work in times of adversity, the farmer sets an example for everyone. And by the way, I’ve never met anyone in the world who doesn’t need the farmer at least three times a day – for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Jean Ferreira,

Flora Beijo, Brazil

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