“When they grow up, I would like my daughters to be farmers,” says Inma. As a single female in the patriarchal world of farming, Inma (Inmaculada Idañez) defies all stereotypes and conventions. Although she feels more at ease sitting on the sand than on a chair for the interview, her speech is so clear and engaging that she has come to share tables with ministers and presidents. In 2019, the third time she participated in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, she was invited to speak: “I don't do it for money or fame. I think I have a mission to share my love and experience in agriculture and raise awareness around the issues that women farmers face in this field.”
She cultivates organic Raf tomatoes in Almería, South Spain, which, from desert and poverty, has risen to become the “Garden of Europe,” with vast, modern greenhouses. Inma’s greenhouse is growing watermelons after three years of tomatoes. “The soil needs a few months to regenerate ecologically,” explains Inma. She places bumblebees in her greenhouse to foster the cross-pollination of the plants, and the plastic that partially covers the soil prevents weeds and insects from appearing. Inma spends every day, apart from Sunday, caring for the plants that will bring tomatoes or other vegetables to Germany, the UK, France, or Holland. She is also busy as president of the CERES (Women Farmers association) in Andalucía and the only female at the head of COAG, the Spanish organism that regulates everything related to agriculture.
Inma was the first of four children, the only female. As both of her parents were farmers, she had to raise her brothers and work in the fields; thus, she couldn't study, although she wanted to.
During the pandemic, Inma felt privileged; her sector was considered essential, and she could keep working, with a strong commitment to contribute to feed society. However, while demand rose by up to 40 percent, and so did the prices, farmers didn't benefit, she claims. Too much speculation is not rewarding the producers, who spend their days working hard in sauna-like temperatures, which is why younger generations don't want to follow the path of their parents and become farmers.