THE FARMERS' STORIES
Giuseppe Galgano, everyone calls Peppino, talks slowly, especially when he's talking about his wheat, his land, his Calitri:
Giuseppe Galgano, aged 50, has twinkling eyes and a face marked by the rhythm of a life that is lived according to the climate. There are many faces like his in Calitri, splendid town in Upper Irpinia, in the heart of Ofanto Valley, there where Pyrrhus did not pass, a short distance from the old Compsa, a few kilometres from Mefite, where Virgil put the entrance to Hades. Giuseppe, everyone calls him Peppino, is first of all an entrepreneur but he doesn't like being called one. He is a farmer who comes from the land and lives off the land. His wheat is special because the pristine valleys where it's grown are special, like these fields that change colour from one season to the next.
Wheat is like a little boy still to be born. It takes patience, cautiousness and love.
A father waits to see his child born, he goes to the OB-GYN, checks if the child is healthy and takes care of the mother carrying his child. He lovingly takes all possible precautions to ensure that it is born healthy. The same thing applies to wheat. With love and patience one does everything in the best way until it is ready for harvest. Because this is what the farmer is really after. The excitement he feels when the fields change and the wheat is ready for harvest.
CALITRI'S WHEAT, A MATTER OF LOVE
I can say I was delivered from the ground, I'm living the same life as the ground. If a bad year comes, you accept it, you have to accept it. It's the truth, you have to be able to accept it. Because it isn't your fault, a bad year is like a disease, you have to face it. This is the life of a farmer, a life that teaches you humility, teaches you to live, teaches you to accept your limits, to respect the weather and the climate, teaches you to be a friend of God, to make the sign of the cross in the morning because you have to start the day, and in the evening because you managed to finish it. This what this life teaches you: patience, cautiousness and love. Especially love, which is what gives you the drive to carry on.
Cows used to graze here when I was a little boy. The crop was different, my father used to work and so did I.
So you can understand, before, everything was made at home: bread, pasta, everything. Perhaps because there was no money, but there was love and passion in what people were making.
The sacrifices made in this sector were made by the older generations, nowadays we get help from machines. They ate onions and bread to buy 2 or 3 hectares of land. It's a generation that even during their old age keeps on cultivating the land, instead of enjoying retirement. In spite of the machines, children are moving away from these parts, this hard but beautiful way of life to make their dreams come true elsewhere. Often just fleeting dreams. This way it's hard to pass down this love. We manage anyway, we're not giving up and we won't give up until the world starts turning like it used to do, which in my opinion is turning in the wrong direction.
That's right, the world keeps on turning in the wrong direction but we can't give up, it's our duty to be obstinate, to try to find a way out:
No one is paying attention to this type of work any longer. We're selling with the euro like when we used to sell in lira. For instance, if a litre of milk used to cost 700 lire, today we sell it for 35 cents. However, we pay the full price of raw material and petrol. A great deal of attention is being paid to production, thanks to organisations such as Syngenta, people working to produce better quality wheat.
Clover and tick-bean have been planted on this piece of land. These crops are for next year for cultivating wheat we rotate with forage. This way we put nitrogen in the soil, we use less compost and the wheat cultivated on this land is very good quality because the soil rests and is not ploughed. And so there are less diseases.
Plus there are companies that try to let you improve, produce more and so earn more. If we used to produce 10 quintals on one hectare of land, now we're producing 30-35, even 40. I must say, though, that not all wheat is the same. This one is called Pietrafitta, it's a quality of wheat Coseme has picked. In these parts production is very high and it has lots of proteins.
"A farmer never knows how his crop is going to turn out. It's a little like when you tell a beautiful woman how you feel about her... "
The challenge is won by doing research, by experimenting new production models, creating a network of excellence and, all things considered, this is the real sense of the Grano Armando project, a project based on excellence:
The beauty of the Armando supply chain agreement lies in the fact that it rewards farmers for quality and guarantees it with a minimum price. One can tell a good ear from the last leaf, the flag leaf. The stem of a good ear is dark green, when it's that colour it means there's the sap necessary for forming a good grain of wheat. When the soil is ready, when the ears are dry, that's when threshing begins, that's the day of reckoning. One has to obtain the highest percentage of proteins, one has to produce a large quantity and that's not easy. The time just before threshing is spent waiting because a farmer never knows how his crop is going to turn out. It's a little like when you tell a beautiful woman how you feel about her, you're afraid and feel vulnerable. Then, once you get over your fear, everything gets easier
The Armando Agreement is much more than a business deal. It is the sharing of a certain vision of the future by those who live off of wheat. By signing it, the producer, farmers and agronomists commit to producing high quality raw material, sealing an authentic tie existing between the ground, wheat and pasta.DISCOVER THE FARMERS