One week to go before the movers come to pack all my things.
I'm in the process of getting rid of all the food and wine I had stored and cannot ship out. But as I'm really selfish, I don't want to be giving it or selling it away without enjoying it. So I've invited my friends and colleagues for pot-luck dinners. Depending on the number of people who have confirmed they would come and their dietary requirements, everybody gets to share some item from my fridge, freezer or store room, accompanied by some fine wine from my "cellar".
Last night, Regan Suzuki accepted the pot-luck invitation - and it looked like she didn't like the entrée of canned maquerel in tomato sauce...
But she brought two of her friends with her: Bryan Hugill and Tui, two young entrepreneurs who are developing an organic farm in the East of Thailand in Sisaket Province. They wanted to discuss issues linked to marketing and ways to promote and add value to their products.
What struck me was that these two young educated professionals had decided to take over the management of the farm on the land owned by Tui's parents. They were in the process of nurturing a small agro-enterprise: Raitong organics farm.
1. They had a business plan for the year to come with forecasts of costs and sales - Tui even acknowledged she would not be able to pay herself a salary yet this year;
2. They had identified their customer base of organic restaurants in Bangkok, with a strategy to continue delivering the best produce to them while possibly expanding to supply export markets;
3. They were engaged in capacity building of their neighbours with a vision to encourage organic practices so that a whole village community could be certified as organic and benefit from higher prices;
4. They had identified and contacted the support agencies that could help them in tackling the hurdles of certification, in this case Green Net/Earthnet Foundation;
5. They were engaged in a process of further human resources development as Tui was applying for scholarships for higher education.
The lesson I learned: the young are still interested in the agricultural sector. It gives them the opportunity to put into practice their entrepreneurial drive, to fulfil a broader vision of contributing to long-term environmental and social sustainability and to take pride in the quality of their products.
It was very rewarding to see my own motivations embodied in others.
If you also believe youth still has a role in agriculture and that young people can make a valid contribution to the policy debate on food and agriculture, visit the Young Professionals' Platform for Agricultural Research for Development.
Summer of '69
Brian Adams, So far so good, A&M