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2007 Congress

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Nikki Robertson
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Nikki Robertson

Members who attended the 2007 IFAJ Congress in Japan have nothing but praise for the organisation and programme of events organised by the Japanese Agricultural Journalists Association.

During the opening ceremony (Photo: Joe Watson).

Insights into the value and enjoyment of the Congress are provided here by journalists from other countries. Below are comments and articles from some of the British participants.

Joe Watson, Press & Journal: "The great appeal of the Congress was the ability to meet other agricultural journalists from around the world and develop new contacts, as well as go to a country and fully experience its farming industry, meet its farmers and get all the facts and figures on the agricultural sector without having to spend days or weeks researching it. The highlight for me, though, was seeing a whole tuna carved up and then served raw. The food was amazing!"

Another memorable meal (Photo: Joe Watson).

  • See more comments and pictures on Joe's blog.
  • Read Joe's Press & Journal articles here and here.

Clemmie Gleeson, Farmers Guardian: "From start to finish our hosts worked tirelessly to show us many different elements to Japanese farming and culture. As well as the promised visits to farms, a dairy and a fruit and vegetable packing plant there were seminars, a briefing with a representative from the ministry of agriculture, and various receptions where we could experience Japanese food and social customs. Aside from being a brilliant introduction to a beautiful and fascinating culture, it was a very educational trip too which I feel has strengthened my understanding of agricultural policy, world trade and international negotiations."

  • Read more about Clemmie's experiences here
  • Read Clemmie's articles here and here

Nick Bond, Freelance and RABI PRO: "There are four distinct components of the annual IFAJ congress – business (the annual general meeting of the Federation); discussion and debate (covering the world’s agriculture and journalism); education (learning first-hand about the farming and cultural traditions of the host country); and social (meeting and getting to know fellow agricultural journalists from around the world).

Every congress has its own unique national characteristics, which mean that each one provides a wealth of different experiences and new stories. Japan 2007 was no different, especially, as for most of the delegates, it was my first visit to the country. Below are a few images of some of things I'll not forget."

Having lunch with young Japanese farmers who delighted in telling us how chop sticks should be held!

Visiting a seed-breeding company and experiencing strict security, uniformly dressed staff and not a sign of dust anywhere.

The tea ceremony.

The best of Japanese food, exquisitely served (occasionally sitting on the floor to eat) and having to dress for dinner when staying in a traditional Japanese country hostelry where men and women slept in different rooms and enjoyed (single sex) communal hot springs.

Visiting numerous temples and beautiful gardens.

Rice – small fields of it everywhere with mini harvesters and a demonstration of the old and modern methods of planting.

The urban farmer, surrounded by high density housing in the outskirts of Tokyo, who teaches city dwellers how to grow vegetable on plots he rented to them.

The best of Japanese food, exquisitely served (occasionally sitting on the floor to eat) and having to dress for dinner when staying in a traditional Japanese country hostelry where men and women slept in different rooms and enjoyed (single sex) communal hot springs.

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