I am really looking forward to the conclusion of the Development Market Place in September. I enjoyed working with World Bank Group (WBG) and external colleagues judging in a previous round and the opportunity to interact personally with the finalists excites me.
As a new member of WBG I find that the reemphasis on Agriculture is a welcome move especially as I work in IFC Agribusiness! Whenever I have to fill in my occupation on immigration cards or official documents I am proud to mark it “Agribusiness” as I believe that the business of farming and related services are the life blood of rural areas whether in the developing or developed world.
I have just got back from Iowa following a recommendation from very good farmers in Argentina. I took time to visit Farm Progress – the largest agriculture show in the US www.farmprogressshow.com. This was an opportunity for me to renew my knowledge of the latest trends in machinery / seed technology which may come in useful when working with clients.
You would be surprised to know the difficulties of buying a properly made tractor drawn trailer for moving fruit / latex or a high capacity wheelbarrow in Indonesia or an oil palm harvesting sickle that stays sharp and does not flex or break in Honduras. Take a look at the Inventors challenge on the Farmprogress Show website for some interesting simple ideas made by American farmers which may have application in developing countries. As you probably can guess I am keen on mechanization – small innovations can take away a great deal of drudgery and make life better.
Let’s face it agriculture can be very hard work and the easier and safer we can make life the better. I am still waiting for someone to invent some cheap, strong, washable, quick drying – good looking overalls for spraying where operators can stay cool and comfortable all day while remaining protected from contact with chemicals.
My strong belief and that of farmers in my family is that farmers get a lot (most) of information from other farmers and from salesmen - the good thing is that this information is normally free!
A great information site that I think is very practical is www.croplife.org this is financed by the plant sciences industry and contains loads of practical information on the safe use of pesticides and many useful links. The search all papers tool on the top right is a powerful. I recommend that you add this site to your favorites.