Theo Daamen on his life in Brazil

“It’s not so perfect here, but that’s part of the challenge”

Dutchman Theo Daamen has been living and working in Brazil since 1973. An interest in Third World Countries drove him to the South American country. “It seemed like a good idea to get to know the place by working in it,” he says. “I ended up with a group of Dutch growers looking for someone to assist them in the fruit business, and that’s how I became an adviser. My specialty is teaching people about cultivating peaches, plums, apples, pears, mandarins, lemon, mango, avocado, persimmon, guava, raspberries and blueberries.”

His turf is mostly in the north, between São Paulo and Ceará, 1,500 metres above sea level. “I think this area is the most interesting. There is production all year round and the trees are never bare. I educate growers on apples, pears an kakis." The potential for agriculture is huge in Brazil: “In spite of the developmental nature of rural areas, people are really open to new things. Brazilians are very good in coming up with solutions.”

What took some time getting used to was the country’s male-dominated society. “Fortunately this is starting to change. It’s not so perfect here, but that’s part of the challenge.” Theo is still in regular contact with his family in Holland, but what he misses most? “Ice skating,” he says with a laugh.

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