WFO President met the International Young Farmers of Argentina

Last week, the President of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), Theo de Jager, met digitally a delegation of the International Young Farmers of Argentina, including the WFO Gymnasium Alumna Agustina Diaz Valdez, for an exciting and fruitful “questions and answers” session.

The International Young Farmers of Argentina is a collaborative network of young producers willing and committed to change agriculture both at the national and international level, looking for solutions to common problems in conjunction with other countries and other professions.

Here are some key messages from the WFO President:

  • If agriculture is not profitable, it is not sustainable. Agriculture is a business; it is a multidimensional business. Farmers need to maintain the planet, atmosphere and the health of an exploding global population. It means to grow more on less and with less: that is the challenge. Highly technical skilled people with the best possible or best available technology to do it are needed to compete with all other farmers in the world. That is why the program Gymnasium aims to recruit the brightest minds in the world to choose agriculture as a career.
  • Education is much more than just the transfer of knowledge. The role of universities is to give a horizon, make youth see what’s next, explore opportunities, and open up new knowledge areas through research. Farmers have no more important partners than scientists. Too much research is done for new knowledge, and the need of the farms does not drive it. Farmers’ organisations should be involved to say what is the research they need right now. If the solution we seek is not based on science, it won’t last.
  • The core function of any farmers’ organization whether is local, national even global organization like WFO, is always to influence policy. We must help create the environment within which we can farm profitably and sustainably, and the influencing is either done by persuasion, by convincing the policymakers. It is important to create this environment in which farmers manage to dialogue with governments. But to influence policies, you need to have policies!You can gain much more attention by representing the real farmers instead of representing an ideology.  To do it, the strongest leaders are needed. This is why we give so much importance to the Gymnasium program because it creates future leaders.
  • The world always changes faster than we can keep up with. It is tough to keep up with new developments all the time. Sometimes you have to leap into the future with your imagination and then go back to where you are now, and for that, you need to be able to dream very big. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough. Only when they scare you, you can be certain they are worthwhile. You need to be as flexible as possible; you need to see the bigger picture all the time, and it is not really possible if you do not read a lot, you do not keep up with the latest development, and you do not keep on studying. Never stop being a student. Always learn more and more. The world is reacting to the way we produce and how we produce.