Global Farmer Network: Lili Duan
The Global Farmer Network is a non-profit advocacy group that brings together like-minded farmers from all over the world. They support free trade and farmer’s freedom to make decisions about and for their own farms so they can increase productivity and profitability in a sustainable way.
Lili Duan is from Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province in China and has a Master’s degree in microbiology from Sichuan Agricultural University. She participates in the Global Farmer Network and farms more than 800 acres of leased land.
We spoke to her about agricultural innovations and her life as a female farmer.
What made you want to study biology?
I have been interested in biology since I was a child. I was enlightened by my primary school teacher about nature.
Which crops do you grow?
I grow fruit, including grapes and peaches, as well as morels, a type of wild mushroom that is popular with chefs.
How do you use agricultural innovations on your farm?
I make use of advanced production equipment and technology on my farm. For example, I use greenhouses, drip irrigation, and sprinkler irrigation.
I will also use a good, functional fertilizer. These fertilizers contain all functional groups along with large and medium trace elements needed for crop growth. The absorption rate can reach up to 95%, which enhances plant disease resistance, increases yield, and improves quality.
How has being a woman affected your career, your farm, and your outlook on innovation in farming?
I think women can do a good job in agriculture. I have a lot of agricultural knowledge and have mastered agricultural technology. I not only understand the technology of agricultural production, but I can also manage agricultural companies.
In your opinion, where are the biggest gaps in gender equality in this industry?
Maybe it’s physical. For example, using a cultivated land machine… I can’t be faster than a man on a farm.
What is your favorite thing about being a farmer?
I like the fresh air in the countryside, and I like to have a relationship with the community. I like the joy and the sense of achievement that the harvest brings to me.