Charlie Pye-Smith

Writer & Author of 'Land of Plenty'

Fortune favours the brave – from the Cotswolds to Kampala

About Charlie Pye-Smith

Charlie Pye-Smith is a writer and broadcaster who has contributed to the BBC, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph and New Scientist, among others. He has written numerous books, including The Facts of Rural Life, The Other Nile, Travels in Nepal, Rebels and Outcasts, In Search of Wild India, Trees for Life and The Subsidy Scandal and he co-authored Working the Land and The Wealth of Communities.

His most recent work is Land of Plenty, a book he wrote while travelling the length and breadth of the British isles to explore the world of British agriculture. He is based in London and reports regularly on global farming and environmental issues for international research and development agencies.

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Many of the most successful farmers I met when I was researching Land of Plenty were the ones who were prepared to take risks and adopt new innovations and ways of doing business. They ranged from multi-million-pound vegetable companies to small hill farmers.

Exactly the same thing is happening in Africa. Farmers in the UK may not think they have much to learn from smallholders in countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia, but I believe they have. Many African farmers – often gathered together in cooperatives – are now using drones, information generated by satellites, weather alerts delivered to mobile phones and new crops and varieties to increase their yields and incomes. They know that innovation – and an open mind – is key to survival. With Brexit looming and the likelihood of farmers losing some or all of their annual subsidies, the same applies here.

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