This is the third instalment with Carlos Bejarano, a young farmer from Colombia.
Ángela Delcast: Have you met young people like us investing their time and energy in agriculture?
Carlos Bejarano: I’m 25. And yes I’ve met young people like us working in organic agriculture but they want to distribute it. You quickly realize people’s intentions: they either want to grow it or sell it. Very few people want to do both. It’s too hard. As an entrepreneur it’s very hard. You have to be on top of many things. You have to be very mentally structured. There’s no one around to tell you what to do and when to do it.
Because I’m a young entrepreneur working in agriculture, many doors have opened to me. But that’s not enough. People don’t wait. If a product arrives to their homes slightly withered, they stop ordering from us. They won’t care that I’m young entrepreneur or that organic nutrition is being delivered straight to their homes.
I don’t like that! I don’t like how society has become so capricious.
AD: It has to do so much with fast food. When people decide to standardise food, to standardise fruits and vegetables, that’s troublesome. A hamburger that contains let’s say: 2 slices of red tomatoes, 3 rings of onions and 2 bits of pale green lettuce is sold almost anywhere in the world. In every case, in every order, the customer expects it to look just the way it does on the photo. People have grown accustomed to that standardisation and the consequences have been awful.
That demand, that expectation, that pressure for something as mutable as fruits and vegetables to look, measure, taste, feel exactly the same no matter where and when it’s bought, has been partially responsible for generating that terrible intolerance from consumers that you’re complaining about.
CB: Did you know that in Colombia around 40% of all food grown is thrown away because of so called quality control policies?
If for example, El Corral (a popular Colombian fast food restaurant) decides that certain vegetables do not pass their quality control standards, they have to been directly thrown out. None of it can be donated it. That’s a policy in Colombia.