When I think about my personal and professional whole career, I see the difficulties and challenges overcome amid financial and family tribulations at the beginning of high school, then at graduation. They continued after my master’s degree, when I had access to a scholarship that provided better food and favorable conditions for study. So, when I think about it all, I feel grateful to be one of the five winners in the amplest national program for rural leaders.
I am a 30-year-old young man who had never been on an airplane and would never have thought of having my professional accomplishments under the spotlight, recording the results achieved and the performance of the tended rural producers. That’s right! I am not only reporting the participation in a program but the changes of a professional who had his origins in the Ceará state countryside as a zealous zootechnician and committed to seeing rural producers having efficient production and a better quality of life. Today, I am the newest hired technical advisor, by invitation, at one of the largest institutions associated with the rural environment, the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA). The CNA Jovem [Youth] Program not only trains leaders but also changes lives.
To brighten this victory, we were awarded a technical mission throughout the country, visiting the five Brazilian regions to learn about the traits and local particulars, understanding processes, types of management, and ways of working that contribute to the improvement of productive efficiency and the technification of tools. All these factors mainly aim to stimulate rural producers by changing the way of thinking and acting, focusing on optimizing the means used.
During this tour throughout Brazil, I could experience stories of overcoming, in which riverside residents who had minimal resources to survive found in açaí and cocoa extractivism an opportunity to grow with the production of high-quality artisanal food that attract Brazilians and foreigners. They also sought to present the local natural riches in the form of ecological trails which foster nature and local culture. At this point, agribusiness—“Agro,” for short—flirts with the possibilities of changing realities, placing human beings in more comfortable situations.
This subject described above promotes a link to another very distinct aspect seen during the visits to the states, which was the use of resources of management, organization, and rural governance in activities that raised the levels of professionalism. They offered the rural producers involved a better presentation of the products from the explored systems and established the activity’s costs and revenues in a format that could be analyzed and interpreted, as one of the essential keys for decision-making. Another aspect was the adding of value to the products created for consumer audiences who are willing to pay more to taste something that promotes much more than just food—something that tells the story of a place, of an environment, or even a life impacted from the development of this activity.
How pleasant was this 16-day experience where I could learn about environments, cultures, accents, and ways of doing and acting that distinguish each Brazilian region. During this period, I met people who left their comfort zone to explore lands where absolutely nothing was cultivated, believing only in God, their workforce, and the development of technologies stimulated by science. That is the profile of the Brazilian food producer, a fierce human being, a trailblazer, and above all, an individual aware that he or she can do more to benefit the whole country and meet international needs in food security of more than one hundred foreign nations.
To keep this Brazilian purpose going, young people must engage and articulate with the use of technological tools, a steady positioning, and innovative ideas that provoke change—and, above all, to sensitize institutions and great leaders in adopting more efficient means in their processes. All this is already a reality in most of the states visited, where I have found youth commissions associated with state federations and with unconditional support from managers who understand the relevance of including young people in sectoral and institutional succession. These young people seek through their actions to disseminate Brazilian Agro, support and engage other people and develop means for the aggrandizement of the country’s rural sector.
What a joy it was to share this remarkable moment, this immersion in the sector that most contributes to the country’s economy. It is a sector that even in the most challenging time in history, the Covid-19 pandemic, stood firm and never faltered for a single day in its sole aim of feeding our neighbor.
Francisco Caio Vasconcelos
In love with Agro