By Ashli Andreas, BBA, International Marketing Specialist, Regina
Canadian Western Agribition (CWA) is the largest livestock show in Canada, and a meeting place for people interested in top-quality cattle and beef genetics. The Trade and Value Added Branch supports the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service in our major markets around the world, including offering support for international guests at CWA. This year, I connected with Mr. Jose-Antonio Rivas, the Canadian Trade Commissioner in Monterrey. He introduced me to Mr. Francisco Gamboa, a cattle producer from Mexico. I was able to sit down with him for a quick Q & A on his experience at CWA.
Ashli Andreas: Welcome to CWA! I understand this is your first time here, and first time in Saskatchewan. How are you involved in agriculture in Mexico?
Mr. Francisco Gamboa: Durango is located in the northern region of Mexico, and the livestock sector is a key industry there. Since my great-grandfather, my family has carried out our agriculture and livestock activities on our farm. I am married, with three children; two girls and a boy. We currently produce Black Angus cattle, and have a herd of 130 Angus cows. Over the last five years, we have been dedicated to breeding cattle.
I have my law degree and a master in government and public policy and I am currently working towards my PhD in budgetary law and new governance for the Mexican countryside. Previously, I served as the Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development in the State of Durango, from 2013 to 2016.
AA: CWA has become a destination for many international buyers. What attracted you to the show and what are you most excited to see?
FG: My main area of interest is to learn more about the genetic quality of beef cattle in Canada. I am looking for new business opportunities. Being able to connect and talk with producers of Black Angus cattle in particular to improve the genetics of Mexican cattle is extremely valuable. I am in the purebred cattle business, an industry that is constantly seeking to improve the genetic quality of the animals. This in turn, will help me to become more competitive with a globalized economy that has specialized interests and tastes.
Canada is characterized as one of the leaders in the agricultural or agro industrial industries, with the best and most advanced technology and genetics, including Red Angus genetics. I believe that Canada sets an example to follow in this industry.
While I am here, I am hoping to learn more about the culture of Canadian producers, including information on the leading edge technologies in agriculture and what makes them more productive. I am also interested how the government integrates indigenous people into the value chain. More importantly, I would like to learn about the role that family plays in the agricultural economy.
AA: How do you see attending CWA helping your business/farm operation back home?
FG: Attending CWA will help me to improve on our processes raising cattle on our farm. We are looking to become more efficient and to have higher economic returns.
Most importantly, Agribition is a great meeting place to build new business relationships and lasting friendships. As this was my first experience at CWA, I was able to make connections with Angus cattle producers and genetic suppliers. The contacts I have made will help me choose the best business opportunities in the coming months. The interactions I was able to have at the show will build trust and business in the future.
AA: Is there anything that you saw that you were surprised about or didn’t expect?
FG: I was surprised at how big of an event CWA actually is. I was also excited to learn the role that family plays in the agricultural economy in Saskatchewan and I am impressed with the amount of participation from families. There were many families at CWA, and the show seems to be a great family meeting point, where producers and businesses’ values and traditions converge.
I was particularly impressed with the amount of women at the show and in the industry. Unlike other countries, here in Canada, women are a contributing factor that strengthen the agriculture and livestock industry. This is what makes Canada recognizable as a global food powerhouse. I will definitely return to Agribition with my whole family to enjoy all the activities that it has to offer.
AA: Any other final comments or thoughts from your experience at CWA and in Saskatchewan?
FG: What sets CWA apart from other cattle shows is the organization and coordination that exists at CWA between the producers, suppliers of genetics and the government. They facilitate the process to acquire or buy any product or technology and thus export to other countries. I like Canadian genetics as Canadian farmers have a unique culture of adopting the best agricultural practices and have a great tradition in livestock management. I will be back to attend the show in the future and would recommend CWA to colleagues and friends in Mexico.
I am very impressed not only by the warmth of the people of this beautiful province, but by the organization of this great event. Most importantly, I am very impressed by the extraordinary coordination between the government, producers, agribusiness men and society in general. It is extremely important to be able to visit the show, and to make those connections with the owners of the cattle. I also found that Canadian producers are clear and humble, which helps to facilitate a commercial relationship.
I would like to thank the Government of Saskatchewan for giving me the opportunity to share my experiences at CWA and for the attention and hospitality that my family and I have had before arriving in Canada and now in Saskatchewan. I would also like to thank the Commercial Delegate of the Consulate of the Canadian Embassy in Monterrey Mr. Jose-Antonio Rivas for his support.