Three Projects Receive IFAJ-Caterpillar Development Bursary Awards

The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) is pleased to announce that three agricultural journalists have received funding through the organization’s new IFAJ-Caterpillar Development Bursary for special communications projects. The program, sponsored by machinery manufacturer Caterpillar, provides an opportunity for agricultural journalists to push their boundaries, seek international perspective, and contribute to IFAJ’s goals of global development, youth development, professional development and freedom of the press.

Click here for more details on each of the selected projects:

“These projects were chosen from more than two dozen proposals that demonstrated the breadth and creativity of agricultural journalism around the world,” said Steve Werblow, secretary-general of IFAJ. “The insights that these three outstanding reporters will bring home to their audiences, their guilds and our federation will yield exciting new perspectives and allow the reporters to stretch their boundaries. We are grateful to Caterpillar for their generous grant that has funded this program, and look forward to the results.”

“The partnership between Caterpillar and IFAJ has been truly exciting and a tremendous success,” added IFAJ treasurer Adrian Bell of AgroMavens, who worked with Caterpillar to develop the bursary. “Caterpillar is delighted that both the bursary and the earlier AgTech Reporting Award have captured the imagination of IFAJ members across its 50 countries, supporting professional development and helping to raise the profile, standards and scope of agricultural journalism.”

Impact of customary laws in agriculture and feminization 

Pulack Ghatack

Pulack is an agricultural journalist in Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Agricultural Journalists and Activists Federation’s representative on the IFAJ executive committee.

Pulack’s interest is in the religion-based customary laws that largely deprive women of land ownership, which has a major impact on the agricultural economy.

With rural transformation, employment opportunities increases in non-farm sectors for both women and men. However, in many developing countries, when men move out of agriculture, women tend to remain on the farm. As a result, the number of women farmers and their responsibilities in agriculture increase. As the “feminization of agriculture” is evident in developing countries, women’s equal access to and control over economic resources is crucial for achieving equitable growth. But that access is hard to assess accurately owing to difficulties in capturing all of women’s employment activities, including secondary and seasonal work.

In addition, their roles and responsibilities have been changing from subsistence farming to wage employment, and from contributing household members to primary producers. However, this change is hard to detect using the data currently available. In all developing regions, women’s employment in agriculture relative to that of men is on the rise.

With this perspective, Pulack intends to write a series of reports on the impacts and changes in customary laws in agriculture and the feminization process with a focus on selected Asian countries with strong traditions of religion-based laws. The reports would be published in the Daily Observer of Bangladesh and BAJAF website/magazine. In addition to talking to famers, NGOs leaders, government officials, economists, legal experts and agriculturalists, he will also meet with agricultural journalists and host meetings to contribute to formation of guilds in these two countries.

Free Media Principles and Agricultural Journalism in Eastern Europe 

Maia Mamulashvili

Maia is a journalist by profession and has a master’s in media management from Tbilisi State University and GIPA Caucasian Journalist School. She has 20 years of experience in print and online media and in 2012 joined the agricultural journalism sector with a regional media portal,, as editor-in-chief. She is the author of the first manual in Georgia published for agricultural journalists and in 2017 was a participant in the IFAJ Masterclass program held in South Africa. She is a founding member of the Association of Georgian Agricultural Journalists which was accepted as an IFAJ member in 2018.

The aim of her project is to study the principles of the free media and main trends in professional agricultural media and the impact of a traditional agrarian state which in the process of industrial development. Georgia, as a former Soviet country, the media is partially free, but the sphere of activity is not developing very fast and the problem that arises is the lack of information and knowledge for farmers.

Maia’s plan is to conduct interviews with journalists in media organizations, freelancers and representatives of organizations from a country similar to Georgia. A special directive document on the existing free media standards will be prepared for enhancing professional standards in this area which will help agricultural writers and journalists. The document will be distributed to agricultural journalists and posted on the website of the Association of Georgian Agricultural Journalists,

Bridging the gap between mainstream and agricultural media

Olivia Cooper

Olivia is a freelance agricultural journalist and PR consultant working across a range of UK and EU farming publications. With 15 years’ experience and many journalist awards to her name, she recently developed a small PR and journalist business, Agri-hub, with three other colleagues.  Olivia works with publications such as Farmers Weekly, CPM and Farmers Guardian, amongst others. She is deputy chairperson of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists (BGAJ) and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

Olivia is interested in becoming more aware of what others outside of the British farm media are doing in order to learn new techniques and be more sensitive to global developments. In particular, she is interested in the divide between farming and the general public, and the substandard reporting of agriculture among the mainstream media. She is passionate about building bridges with non-ag media and wants to learn from what other countries are doing.

Olivia will attend the International Journalism Festival in Italy in spring 2019 to network with other journalists and learn from the very best in the industry. She will also report on a number of relevant seminars including how to improve scientific reporting, what’s changing in the newsroom ecosystem, and the risks and opportunities in local vs national journalism. As well as writing up articles, Olivia will use her experiences to shape the BGAJ’s efforts to build links between mainstream and agricultural press which she plans to develop into an ag media summit in the UK.