What inspires farmers and why is their job so important? Spanish farmer Pedro Gallardo explains:
Why did you want to become a farmer?
In my case, it’s vocational, I had already been working in the sector for 21 years, it’s what I’ve known at home for more than three generations.
What crops do you have on your farm?
Durum wheat, sunflower and broad beans. Previously, beet, corn, peas and chickpeas.
What impact do pests and diseases have on your crops and livelihood?
Pests have been many and varied. A few years ago, when we were still growing beet, we had quite a few problems with this crop. We have also suffered a great deal with the click beetle, leafworm and heliothis. On many of these occasions, both the harvest and our potential production were significantly reduced. Two years ago, we also had a strong attack of mildew. Last year it was the Hessian fly that severely affected durum wheat. We didn’t have access to technologies to fight these pests.
How do you protect your crops?
For crops under an integrated production system, for example beet, we have specialized technicians and there is more monitoring going into these crops. For other crops, we’re restricted to the few active substances that are authorized.
Why is your profession important in the challenge of feeding the world?
We have an obligation to contribute to the challenge of feeding the world. The only thing we ask is to be allowed to apply the innovations available worldwide, which we often cannot. We have a responsibility to feed the population, but for this we must be allowed to apply scientific knowledge, always with scientific rigour.
What inspires you in your work?
I’m inspired by the day-to-day, it’s the most rewarding sector. It’s like life itself, you must first sow before you may reap. Besides, I wouldn’t understand life away from the farm. For me, it’s all advantages and I hope that in the future my children will have the option to follow in my steps
Pedro is an experienced manager in the agricultural industry and winner of the Most Innovative Award at the 2nd EPP European Congress of Young Farmers, 2014.