Reporting on African Agriculture Outlook and Global Hunger reports

| October 17, 2016

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The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently released their Agricultural Outlook, which includes a special in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities facing sub-Saharan Africa in the next decade. The report’s findings identify a need for improved government policies, strategic public and private investments, and adapted research and extension work. It says that these changes could improve access to markets, reduce post-harvest losses, and make needed inputs more widely available. The report emphasizes yield improvements, pointing to the role of large fertilizer and machinery companies in increasing farm output.

FAO Africa Agriculture Outlook 2016—2025

The International Food Policy and Research Institute (IFPRI) recently published the 2016 Global Hunger Index. Hunger levels in seven countries are considered “alarming,” including Central African Republic, Chad, and Zambia. The report emphasizes the need to accelerate efforts to curb hunger in order to meet the international target of eradicating hunger by 2030.

Global Hunger Report

Reports from international institutions, research centres, and governments can provide important data and analysis for journalists and broadcasters. But reporting on these reports is incomplete unless it links them to your local audience by considering: What does this information mean to my listeners?

Instead of simply writing a story about the report itself, one good strategy is to examine the issues identified in the report and produce a story on those particular issues. For example, the FAO Africa Agriculture Outlook identifies post-harvest loss as an important issue. The report’s findings can be explored and made more locally relevant by asking farmers in your area how much of their harvest they lose and what storage or processing strategies they use to prevent post-harvest loss.

The FAO report also identifies machinery and fertilizer as tools for improving farmers’ outputs. Ask local farmers’ organizations what types of fertilizers they use and how much they cost. Or find out how many farmers in your area use machinery.

You can find more advice in this week’s Opportunity, which talks about an impactAfrica webinar on measuring the impact of development projects.

The European Journalism Centre’s guide, Reporting Development, includes other good strategies for journalists and broadcasters, which can be applied to reporting on either of these reports.

Read Reporting on Development: A Guide for African Journalists at: