It seems sometimes, that the more one knows, the less one knows… that sounds an oxymoron… but really it just means that as we have been provided a tiny insight to different places and aspects of Brazil and its Agriculture sector, the more questions we have. There is so much more, and we haven’t even begun to understand it yet.
Our brains are exploding; our eyes feel like they are permanently hanging loosely out of their sockets; and our faces locked with jaw drop, as we have been astounded, stunned, shocked, inspired and amazed at what we are seeing, hearing and experiencing.
It is very difficult to put into words a concise summary of Brazil. To describe the numbers and scale seems so sterile… even having seen a glimpse of the scale and heard the numbers first hand, it is still too difficult to really grasp hold of what Brazilian Agriculture is. There are not enough colours to paint the picture of the people, their successes, frustrations and dreams. It is in moments like this when the English language seems inept. Or maybe it’s a lack of ability to weave the language together to articulate the impressions and impact that Brazil has had on us. Nevertheless, it’s going to take a while to process this experience.
What can I do to respond to this? What is the future for New Zealand? …business as usual is not an option. So what are our options, and how do we position our little nation in the global sandpit for the coming decades? What are the right questions to be asking? As farmers, do we really understand the global context we operate in?
The more I know, the less I know – which I suspect is exactly where Nuffield wants me to be right now. As I sit on a bus traveling down an exceptionally bumpy main highway of Brazil, trying to reconcile my thoughts, I can confidently say that our farm tracks are in better condition than this piece of federal government infrastructure. We are fighting with the big grain trucks for space on the road. As every vehicle weaves its way across and along the road negotiating the potholes, each driver is in a mad frenzy of survival of the fittest… or the biggest – literally. We have seen cars driven off the road to avoid colliding head-on with the so called, “kings of the road.”
As I’m entertained by a lightning storm in the distance, the warm tropical air is blowing through the window, carrying from our bus, the fumes of its clutch fighting for life, as we sometimes crawl along the road in the late hours of the night making our way to the next bed. The team are all willing its survival as we fall into another fitful sleep, seizing every opportunity we can for at least some rest.
It’s all part of the adventure. What an experience.