You don´t have to be the best one.

Lotaos Risolier presents products to Ministers

You have to be the only one. The minister is a wise man. Otherwise he probably wouldn't be a minister. His sayings remind me of those of European politicians. So no cultural difference? Emily, who coordinated this appointment, looks at the farmers' representatives. The appointment is something very special for the seven-member delegation, as they have long wanted to put forward their concerns: it is about farmers having a say in setting rice prices. I start my presentation about Lotao, talking about our projects and the connection between enjoyment and eco-tourism. Traveling, my specialty from a previous life, won't let me go.

Childhood dreams come true...
A pack of Oriental Sensation Smoked Rice is in front of the minister. He asks me if he can open it and smells the fine basmati. Suddenly he has the face of a child: he remembers his grandmother's smoked rice, which the family discovered by chance: the rice was kept over the wood stove and unintentionally smoked for months. When the changed, wooden aroma was discovered, the family decided: the children should not have this rice. This rice is special and therefore only reserved for old grandmothers. I am surprised to find the tradition of smoking rice not only in India but also in Indonesia. Returning from his childhood memories, the minister appears combative: He would like to support us by promoting more innovative products and traditional rice varieties. The delegation listens and remains silent. The farmer representatives have come so that their group has a say in the committee that determines the “reference prices” for rice. You don't have to understand Indonesian to understand straight away: the demand is simply brushed off the table. Farmers should produce organic products. Innovations with creative brands are in demand. The representatives listen and nod. I wonder why the delegation is putting up with all this. Why she seems to come into such an important conversation unprepared. Why no one raises their hand and asks: Can organic rice alone feed our population? How are we supposed to survive transition periods? Where should farmers get their brand know-how for innovations?

Satisfied faces...
Emily enlightens me: It is in the culture not to contradict and to remain silent. Whatever the minister says applies. I suddenly reconsider my behavior and wonder how the farmers must have experienced my loud laughter and my interjections to the minister. Even though they might not have been able to understand the cultural difference, the minister seemed to have liked it. When he says goodbye, he enthusiastically shakes my hand. You know, sometimes you have to be the only one...

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