Investing in Agriculture: Competition for African Journalists/Media Specialists

The Future Agricultures Consortium and PLAAS are inviting journalists and media specialists to enter a competition for reporting on the politics and processes that influence agricultural investment in Africa.

The entry deadline is 8 February 2013 and the winners will be supported to attend our major conference on the Political economy of agricultural policy in Africa, which takes place in South Africa in March 2013.

Download the details: Future Agricultures 2013 African media competition

Applicants must submit their entry in English only by email to Your journalistic piece must reach the organisers by no later than 8 February 2013 to be considered for inclusion in the competition.

Winning entries

The best print and best audio journalistic piece will be selected using established criteria. The top two finalists will be announced on 1 March 2013 by email or phone. These two finalists will be fully supported (flights, visa and accommodation) to attend the international conference on “Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Africa” in South Africa, hosted by Future Agricultures and the Institute of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS). Winners will each be presented with a certificate of recognition during the conference. In addition, the finalists will be invited to attend the launch of FAC Africa.

Besides the winning entries, the top 10 selected pieces will be published and promoted regionally, internationally and on the FAC website.
Competition themes

This media competition aims to encourage journalists and media specialists to explore some of the factors that determine agricultural investment patterns in Africa.

Providing case studies and evidence from your home country, your journalistic piece should correspond to one of the following themes:

Investing in agriculture: Only a few countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Malawi) have met the Maputo declaration commitment to invest 10 percent GDP in agriculture. With agriculture the backbone of the African economy, why is it that African governments do not invest more in agriculture for the benefit of their economies?

What are the political pressures leading African governments to increase investment in agricultural development? Do these favour smallholder agriculture or large-scale farming, food staples or export crops, state-led or private sector-led models, investment in public goods or transfers (such as subsidies)?

Influencing policy – the role of civil society: How can a civil society organisation have an influence on agricultural policy making?

Using one or more examples, explore how CSOs can be effective in getting issues onto the policy agenda, influencing how policies are shaped (either from an external position, or by being involved in the policy making process), and/or how they can assist in making sure that policies are properly enacted on the ground. What are the key strategies for CSOs in being effective in influencing policy; why do they succeed or fail?

BRICS investment in Africa: How are investments from China and Brazil and other ‘rising powers’ having an impact on African agriculture? And what impact will they have in the future?

What investments are Brazil and China making in agricultural production systems in Africa? What is their scale, nature (public and private) and focus? Are these investments supporting pro-poor development, and if not, how should governments respond to this?

Conditions of entry

Each candidate will submit only one print (in Word doc or docx format) or audio piece (in mp3 format) from any African country. Any accompanying photos for print articles should be sent as jpegs. The title and the name of the author should be clearly written on the cover page to the piece, or details included in email with audio piece. The deadline for receipt of submissions is 8 February, 2013.

Note: if you have difficulty submitting your audio piece by email, you can use YouSendit ( or a similar free internet service.

All applications should submit a short biographical note including name and full contact details; email address, telephone number(s), postal address, town, country, and a scanned photocopy of the applicant’s passport. Entries received after 8 February will not be considered. Notification of approved selections will be announced on 1 March 2013.
Selection process

A panel of judges from the Future Agricultures Consortium, WRENmedia, and Nick Perkins, Scidev.Net director will review entries and make their recommendations to the Steering Committee for the Conference.

The pieces should demonstrate that the author(s) understand the issues outlined above.

The main selection criteria for the pieces are:

Originality and quality of analysis;
Creativity (use of relevant case studies and examples to illustrate the issues);
Relevance and responsiveness to development challenges;
Quality of language (engaging writing style, good spelling and grammar, etc.);
Presence of bibliography and/or other relevant references;
Respect of the prescribed format:

Number of words/duration:

Print: max 1,200 words.
Audio pieces should not exceed 5 minutes.

Print format:

Font : Arial size 11 – Line spacing: 1.5
NB: If an entry has already been published or broadcast, the date of publication/broadcast must be included on the submission. Only original pieces that have been prepared after the announcement of this call will be considered.

Additional rules

FAC reserves the right to disqualify any entry if it does not meet the contest criteria and present regulations.
By entering, participants warrant that their print/audio materials are original and do not infringe on any third party’s rights;
Entry to the contest constitutes an agreement to allow FAC to make articles/audio pieces, name, occupation and state of residence of applicants, public;
In addition it constitutes an agreement to allow FAC to use the material in its publications and in the framework of promotional activities. Applicants will retain ownership and all other rights to future use of their texts;
FAC will not be able to return submitted articles/audio to their authors;
If, for any reason, the competition is not completed as planned, FAC reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend it;
The decisions made by the panel of judges are final and beyond dispute;
All participants in this competition implicitly accept the rules presented in this document.

Email address for submissions:

Download all these details as a PDF document:

Future Agricultures 2013 African media competition

Credit: Future-Agricultures Consortium (FAC)

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