Taking the Buck by the Horns…
A while back Rachel Laudan put up a link that explains the Royal Agricultural Show in the UK was would no longer be operating, due to lack of funds and other problems. Given the changes in modern farming described in the article, this seems inevitable.
In Africa, however, these kinds of events continue to play a very important role, especially in ex-British colonies. During the colonial period, national and international agricultural shows were organized, and following independence these have continued in some countries. They are both a means of exchanging information and techniques, as well as simply having a lot of fun.
In countries where transportation, communication, and access to new technologies are still problematic, these events will likely continue sometime into the future. Not a bad colonial legacy, I would argue.
My familiarity with them comes primarily from Kenya, where new breeds of livestock are exhibited, wonderful cheeses and other products are shown off and sold, and competitions of many kinds are held. These pictures show how a goat farmer – a retired school teacher in Kenya – has profited from his participation in Agricultural shows and related training events, and how we – in turn – have benefited from the goats that he has bred by importing offspring to Burundi: