Elisa Plumed Lucas, Spain

The IFAJ Congress – a rare and complicated thing!

2009 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award recipient

It was very interesting for me, for many different reasons, to take part in the IFAJ Congress, even though my limitations in the English language made it difficult for me to mix with other colleagues from other countries as much as I would have liked to.

It was very curious and nice to see that there are so many journalists in the world who specialise in agriculture, because in Spain this is an unusual kind of speciality in journalism. It was very interesting to speak to our colleagues and see the different faces of agriculture, the agricultural policies and the makets in the diferent parts of the world.

I also liked to see the many stories, papers and magazines issued in different countries so I could compare them to work done in my country. On the other side, as a member of the Spanish association, it has been very important to take part in the IFAJ Delegates Meeting and in the General Meeting. This has given me the opportunity to know in a closer way the work done by the Federation and the generosity of the journalists who form it.

There is no doubt holding the Ag Summit and the IFAJ Congress together this year, created a greater weight in the working sessions, presentations and tours for the congress. I think these tours are very important, because they help us to understand better agriculture in the hosting country.

However, as a journalist with a critical view, I would like to use this report to point out some suggestions that may improve the IFAJ Congresses:

It would be better to have internal meetings of the IFAJ journalists in order to discuss and to know in a better way agriculture in different parts of the world - agricultural policies, markets, etc. We are journalists and we know the daily reality of our countries, but I think many of us lack knowledge about how things run in other places, and the best source can often be the colleague next to me who can let me know how his reality is afecting mine and what is next to come in my country.

I think the host country (for each congress) could provide a press dossier with all the relevant information - extention, population, agriculture population, most important crops and cattle, the importance of agriculture in the economy, most imported and exported products, etc.

It would be of interest to promote the IFAJ Concress in the local media (press, radio and TV). It is an unusual thing to see about 200 agriculture journalists together!

We could open the awards and participation not just to press journalists, but other media like radio, TV and web pages.

All that would enrich a congress that is doing a very complicated thing - bringing together journalists of the five continents.

And last, but not least, I want to encourage young agriculture journalists to take part in the Alltech awards, because I was able to take part in the IFAJ Congress thanks to this scholarship.