Guild member Chris McCullough, a reporter on Northern Ireland’s FarmWeek newspaper, has won a place on an IFAJ study visit to Kenya publicised in the Guild’s April 2012 eAlert.
As one of 15 participants from around the world selected to report on the developing country’s agricultural industry, Chris will travel to Kenya in November this year for the six-day IFAJ Exposure-4-Development tour visiting farms, companies and agriculture experts.
“It’s a real privilege to be picked for this tour,” says Chris. “Having reported from Uganda and South Africa previously, I’m aware of African farming methods in similar countries – but reporting from Kenya will throw up some new challenges and create bigger opportunities to tell the real story about Kenyan agriculture.”
The visit, inspired by the UN International Year of Co-operatives, has been arranged by the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) – to which all British Guild members are affiliated – and Agriterra, an organisation based in the Netherlands and financed by the Dutch government to help fight poverty in Africa.
In addition to Agriterra, the event is sponsored by British American Tobacco, machinery maker AGCO, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Dutch insurance firm Interpolis and VION Food Group.
The focus will be on the difference that agricultural co-operatives can make in developing countries, with participating journalists encouraged to look beyond Africa’s images of hunger and poverty and explore a vibrant continent where efforts to improve the economic position of farmers are helping in the fight against poverty.
Owen Roberts, IFAJ secretary general and professional development officer, says: “It’s an honour to be included in this elite group of IFAJ members from around the world, embarking for the first time on such a unique and significant initiative. I believe the stories, photos and videos generated by the participants will help promote a deeper understanding of global food production and farming issues in the developing world.”
Selection criteria included a review of each candidate’s previously published or broadcast work, their audience and letters of reference.
“I do wish to thank IFAJ and Agriterra for this great opportunity, and my colleagues at FarmWeek for their encouragement and support,” says Chris, the only journalist from the UK and Ireland to win a place on the tour.