Wake up, farmer!

Despite the current panorama I think that good times are coming for the farmers. And that’s not because I believe there is going to be an abundance of harvest. I also don’t think that prices for the products on the field will rise. I cannot assure that the climate will be favourable either. Neither am I interested in predicting the future.

The tides are turning in favour for farmers to go out and defend their own harvest. It is a good moment to do things well and with the environment in mind. I say this based on my opinion, our own experience and the growing number of people that ask us day in day out all there is to ask about our products, the way we cultivate them and what we do to care for the natural and social environment. We receive questions from how we do pest control without the use of pesticides, over the materials we use for packaging to what will happen with our oranges after Brexit. To the last one we respond with certainty that our orange trees will continue growing oranges and that we will find a way to send them to the English no matter what Brussels says.

In my social environment I notice that the people become more and more concerned with what they eat and this is a good sign. I realize that they look for information about the origin of the products and this gives me a push. They ask themselves about what is in season at the moment and that they worry about the climatic conditions and about how the rains, the wind and the cold will affect the harvest. I notice that they value the products for how they were cultivated and not for their size or their outer appearance. I observe that some of them are even worried about the salaries of the workers and their working conditions. I feel that they are interested in the time that passes and the kilometers that the products travel between being harvested and arriving at their respective destinations. I notice that the people are prepared to accept a small decrease that might occur during transport rather than receiving the products wrapped in plastic.

I notice that traceability and buying directly from the farmer has become a trend. The problem is that us farmers tend to find out about these trends too late. We don’t have programs analyzing tendencies or buying habits of the consumers. We are so busy with the climate, or the pests that we don’t stop to think about how and to whom we will sell our harvest.

This is the time to change that because the consumer is looking for you, dear farmer. And you must not miss this opportunity. So go for it. Don’t let pessimism generated by your rural environment lead you astray. The time has come to change your way of cultivating, thinking about tis consumer that appreciates you doing things right, consciously and in line with the environment. Get your act together and pledge that your product will sell in your name. That the people that consume it know it was cultivated by you. That they understand the difficulties and value your effort.

Gonzalo Úrculo

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