Last Friday, José Levelink, manager operations at Agriterra said farewell. Cees van Rij, manager agri-advice, and Kees Blokland, managing director, gave speeches in which they thanked José for her incredible commitment to Agriterra.
The board of Agriterra has decided to honour José Levelink and award her the Insignia Agriterra. Agriterra can recognize the work of selected persons, who for a longer period and in a consistent way have enhanced the cause of farmers and supported the work of Agriterra. The recognition has the form of a Certificate and an Insignia that can be worn in all occasions. It is made in a male and female version of 18 karats gold by Hayk Ghazaryan, an Armenian-Dutch goldsmith.
José felt a bit overwhelmed by the speeches and thanked everybody for the presents, nice words, emails, cards and messages. She concluded with:
“I have changed since I started working for Agriterra: I have had many functions within the organisation, I have experienced growth and learned a lot, I have gained self-confidence. Agriterra has also changed; reorganisations in 2004, in 2010 and the largest in 2015. The vision and mission have remained the same: we continue to work for and with organised farmers.
Over the years, the ambition has been formulated more clearly and the impact has become larger. What I see as the best change in Agriterra is that we now have country offices where employees work who originate from those countries. They speak the language, know the culture and understand the farmers. That is a major added value for Agriterra, while we still remain a Dutch organisation.
I enjoy the work, but especially what Agriterra strives for. When I tell others what I do and what Agriterra stands for, I feel that they find Agriterra fantastic.
We have achieved a lot, but there are still challenges to tackle. We aim to secure the independence of country offices and thus establishing agreements with each other, which will cost energy to implement this well with each other. The growth of Agriterra, which will continue, requires a major commitment from everyone. We are at the start of setting up an even better and very well-oiled organisation.
But there is also a life after Agriterra. After so many years and many experiences richer, it is time to enjoy life in a different way. To enjoy new things, to enjoy who I am and to enjoy the people around me. And I want to have time for that.”