Eleven journalists from IFAJ member guilds traveled through Brazil’s Paraná and São Paulo states in April for a look at the region’s diverse agriculture. The trip, the latest in IFAJ’s Exposure-4-Development series, covered approximately 1,500 kilometers and connected the group with dairy, beef, sugar cane, soya, maize and grazing operations.
E-4-D sponsor DeLaval organized two days of outstanding visits to leading dairy producers in the Castro area. Meetings with the president and CEO of the Castrolanda Cooperative and leaders of the nearby Frisia Cooperative—both established by Dutch immigrants to Brazil—provided an overview of the region’s milk production as well as a look at the sophisticated marketing and processing programs that serve the nation’s domestic market of more than 200 million people.
DeLaval’s head of external communications, Raúl de la Fuente, traveled from Sweden to ride with the group for part of the week-long tour. Two of his colleagues from DeLaval’s Brazilian operation, João Salgado and Adir Neto, also provided deep local insight
Later in the week, the E-4-D team met Manuel Henrique Pereira, Jr., a pioneer in no-till farming, as well as farmers Jonadan Hsuan Min Ma and Benedito Helio Orlandi, the president and vice president of the Brazilian No-Till and Irrigation Federation. The in-field exploration of no-till farming practices to reduce erosion and build soil health was augmented by a meeting that night with Rodrigo Duck and Diogo Haacke of Horsch, who provided insight into cutting-edge machinery for no-till seeding of cash crops and cover crops.
Brazilian agricultural journalist Luiz Pitombo arranged a visit with the owners of Fazienda Cachoeira, a leading cattle breeder, who provided insight into Brazil’s use of Zebu genetics in its beef and dairy herds
Context makes for good coverage, so the tour began with a thorough briefing on Brazil’s agricultural industry by Alexandre Hornemann of the Danish Consulate and ended with a meeting with the top-ranking executives of TEC/TEAG, joint ventures of the global Cargill network in the port city of Santos. The TEC and TEAG elevators are the launching point for the export of Brazilian soya, maize and sugar around the globe.
Niels Damsgaard Hansen, a long-time IFAJ member, journalist and tour operator, organized the trip with the help of the E-4-D committee, which includes Liza Karlsson of Sweden, Lilian Schaer of Canada, and Steve Werblow of the U.S. São Paulo-based tour guide Zeca Nunes provided a local perspective on Brazilian agriculture, history and culture, as well as translation where necessary (though Sjoerd Hofstee of The Netherlands interviewed a couple of dairy producers in Dutch, and Christian Muhlhausen and Katrin Fischer of Germany interviewed another farmer in German).
Participants in the tour included:
Amy Forde, Irish Farmers Journal, Ireland
Katrin Fischer, BWagrar, Germany
Sjoerd Hofstee, Langsdemelkweg, The Netherlands
Claudia Jung-Leitner, Austrian Chamber of Agriculture, Austria
Rachel Martin, AgriLand, Northern Ireland
Christian Muhlhausen, Landpixel, Germany
Owen Roberts, IFAJ president, Canada
Lilian Schaer, freelancer, Canada
Frederik Thalbitzer, Landbrugsmedierne, Denmark
Tuulikki Viilo, Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, Finland
Steve Werblow, The Furrow, USA
The E-4-D program has provided opportunities for IFAJ members to cover stories in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and China. The IFAJ Exposure-4-Development committee welcomes new participants and new ideas for dynamic agricultural nations for the next trip. Contact secretary-general Steve Werblow to get involved and share your ideas.