On discovering Agribusiness TV, Richard Pernollet, senior journalist and international trainer at the prestigious Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme de Lille (ESJ Lille), sent us his impressions by email, which we are sharing in this post.
What a nice project… just a quick look at it and I am impressed. I have already watched the story of the accountant who became a farmer. It has been well produced, in good quality.
The idea is excellent: the online platforms have been well chosen, easy to use and it is normal that they already have an audience. This is real reporting from the field, with examples. The journalism like I love and in a formula adapted to the web.
I recall the president of a farmers’ association in Congo (DRC), whom I met several times in Kinshasa. He used to say that “Congo is the only country in the world where the fishes from the river die of old age because no one fish them”. These are words that can be applied to Africa in general, isn’t it?
In Congo, he added, “there is too much richness underground, which makes it that we wait for the whites to come and exploit, expecting that there will be some benefits. Result, we import practically all our food because no one is farming, while here you can sow anything and it grows. And during those times on the TV, only music and prayers were broadcasted, if you think this is the way we would get out of the situation!”.
In France at the moment, I have a Cameroonian friend who has just completed a management programme on the minimisation of middleman in the agricultural value-chain. He focused on the region of Lille. Here we see small farmers organising themselves to that they don’t depend on big supermarkets who fix the price too low and import fruits and vegetables from very far, sometimes from Argentina, Kenya or South-Africa.
Their choice is to serve the nearest consumers with products that are fresh and are of best quality. And this works. One of the companies is private and purely commercial, but with horizontal management. The other one is a cooperative having a planning with producers for direct sales. Result, like for your accountant in the video, the two businesses are expanding.
I found that this video [An accountant mutating into a farmer] is really sensitive and convincing. It is through initiatives like yours that Africa will rise up. On our side also, globalisation has done a lot of damage. And as many economists would say today, it is time to re-think “small”. “Start again from thinking local and acting global”.