Agriterra experience of Wander de Wolde: “It's nice to be able to do something in return”

6 July 2018

Agriterra and ForFarmers began collaborating in 2017 to assist in professionalising farmers' organisations and cooperatives in developing countries. ForFarmers provides employees and dealers with the option to make their knowledge and expertise available for advisory assignments and training programmes through Agriterra. Cattle dealer Wander de Wolde recently went to Ethiopia for a week to provide a local feed factory with advice.

There is plenty of growth, but farmers need to learn how

Ethiopia is a beautiful area with fertile soil. But there's a lack of rain for eight months and there is limited development and money. “I was there at the beginning of the rainy season, so there was not a blade of grass on the ground. In terms of cultivation, there are really opportunities here. There are crops that can withstand this climate. There is plenty of growth, but farmers need to learn how. In addition, farmers must learn to understand the importance of high-quality roughage. Because now they let the cattle walk very far for little roughage and give them additional meal in the dry periods. Or they feed woody plant remains to the cattle. But that doesn't work for a cow. So this is really a process of awareness. Fortunately, I have also seen good examples, and these farmers can play an exemplary role and share knowledge.”

Afbeelding: Wander-rundvee

​​​​​​​On the tuktuk to the farmer

The salesman of the feed factory doesn't have a nice lease car, but an old tuktuk he uses to drive to the factory and back. “But he never goes to his customers, so he can't see what's going on. So a first win for the cooperative would be: make sure that this man has proper transport, so that he can go to the farmer and see what's going on with his own eyes. And make sure he has information material to explain to farmers how to feed cattle.”

​​​​​​​Another nice anecdote?

“When I drove away from the airport they were mowing grass. Not with a lawn mower but five people were cutting the grass with a hand-hedge trimmer. This was not on a small airfield, but at Ethiopia International Airport”, Wander says. “That reflected the situation of the country in a single glance: no money, no resources.”