Launch meeting and workshop held in Addis Ababa brings together 22 African journalists from 12 countries; addresses problems, challenges and opportunities in reporting on agriculture and climate change.
Addis Ababa, September 14-15, 2017: Africa is the only continent in the world that imports more food than what it produces, despite having the potential to feed the whole world; and the cost of the food it imports is so high that it cannot invest in other welfare activities – begins the cover story of an Indian magazine which launched its special Africa issue here, with an extensive analysis of the state of the continent’s agriculture.
Down To Earth, the magazine being referred to here, is a leading science, development and environment fortnightly published from New Delhi in India. Its publication is supported by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), one of the better known and most credible public research and advocacy bodies operating in India, with footprints all over South Asia. CSE has started joining hands with African media associations to build capacity of the continent’s journalists.
The analysis put forth by Down To Earth was the result of reportage by African and Indian journalists, and was released here today in the presence of media people from 12 African nations, representing all forms of media (radio, print, online and television). These journalists were in Addis Ababa to attend a two-day workshop and consultation organised by CSE in partnership with African Voices for Climate Change and Conservation (AV3C).
Speaking on the occasion, Richard Mahapatra, managing editor of Down To Earth magazine, said: “Close to 70 per cent of countries in Africa are net food importers today. Cereals account for the bulk of the continent’s agriculture imports. Africa’s agriculture is predominantly rain-fed and based on small landholdings. This makes the region highly vulnerable to climate change. With changing rainfall patterns and degrading land, productivity of the continent’s farmlands is in for a setback. We in Down To Earth believed that this was a story that needed to be told and retold – and we were helped in this by some of the most enterprising reporters from the continent.”
(Find the complete cover story and a comprehensive info-package on Africa and agriculture on our website – www.downtoearth.org.in)
Talking about CSE’s work in Africa, Souparno Banerjee, the director of The CSE Media Resource Centre, said: “We recognise the fact that Africa is a vast area, with immense diversity in peoples, customs, problems as well as solutions. We wish to learn, understand, report and help focus attention on the key issues. The fundamental idea behind nurturing this association between Africa and India is our belief that as nations and peoples from the Global South, our environmental concerns are similar. We can, therefore, share learnings and experiences and work together towards solutions. And the media, with its capacity to influence opinions and drive change, can be a very important cog in this wheel.”