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Caribbean media and agriculture: A marriage of necessity?

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Caribbean Media & Agriculture: A marriage of necessity? When you go through the media in the Caribbean you will come across ... ... a crime reporter, a sports reporter, a political reporter ... ... but you never hear about an agricultural reporter. The media are doing their job, but they look at agriculture from the marketing end. We need to look at the farmer’s end and from the farmers point of view, ... ... and look at how we are developing agricultural communities. Our farmers are crying out for help and crying out for ... ... an ear to put forward some solutions. No one listens! The relatively low profile of agriculture in the Caribbean ... ... has been laid squarely on the doors of the media. Is the media listening? Media in many of the small islands rely ... ... on community radio and barely support the one weekly newspaper. But the Guardian is one of the largest and ... ... most established media entities in the Caribbean. It is part of a conglomerate that oversees an empire of television, cable, ... ... internet, radio and print; using the most modern technologies ... ... that facilitate direct computer to press. What we need to do is help people or encourage people as editors ... ... to have a keen interest in agriculture because it is part of the national mainstream ... ... and it should be an important part of coverage ... ...and that we as the editors we have to work towards transmitting ... ... that message to reporters as well. This newspaper has just one reporter dedicated to agriculture, ... ... that along with other beats. She faces challenges of her own, and those are similar to those faced ... ... by many of her colleagues in the Caribbean, in the large and smaller islands. There is not much information that we can work with. If you go to the internet, there is very little information. The National Foodcrop Farmers’ Association has been very helpful ... ... in giving us information, in terms of statistics which the Ministry ... ... has very little information about, so they have been helping. There might be occasions when we won't be able to cover all of the events ... ... because we are often short staffed and we have to juggle our resources ... ... so if they can make maybe a press release or sometimes information ... ... available to us by reaching out to us ... ... then we can do the extra by going the distance and assuring it is covered. The fast-paced and daily grind of the newsroom, deadline pressures, ... ... and competition to sell news may all contribute to ... ... the way agricultural news is presented. Sometimes in ways the sector finds ample reason to raise quarrels. Farmers are often forced to turn for representation, not to mainstream media, ... ... but small sectoral newsletters and community radio. Toco Radio, a project of the Toco Foundation, has been awarded by the United Nations, ... ... Pan American Health Organisation and Government of Trinidad and Tobago ... ... for its community radio outreach programmes that make sectoral linkages ... ... with its self-sustaining community projects these include not only health promotion, ... ...and environmental conservation,but also agriculture and agro-tourism. It receives information and is received by the 13 communities... ... it serves in the remote districts of North Trinidad. “From the inside, Radio Toco 106 FM” It has defied the sense of media neglect of in rural areas ... ... by creating its own communications unit. With a full time staff of four who also handle its community newspaper, ... ...The Eastern Voice, Toco Radio is an example of how ... ... an empowered small community can overcome odds and ... ... meet its district’s needs for relevant information. A lot of times, the newspaper will reach 8-9 o' clock in the morning... ... because it has to come from Port of Spain to Sangre Grande, then you have to get a taxi. There is one guy that would normally bring the newspaper ... ... the day that he falls sick, we don't get any newspaper. When the idea came through Mr Als and some of his friends of starting a community radio , ... ... there was a little hesitation within the community. ‘A community radio, I don't see how people here can benefit from that’ ... ... but eventually we got people to come on stream. It’s a station that from the inception we have used local ... ... rural community people to operate it. She will look at some of the things that presently in the communities, ... ... something we have on the market in abundance, ... ... and will focus on putting together programmes that will teach them ... ... how to plant and how to get involved if you’re a young person ... ... and if you want to get involved in that sort of farming. Radio Toco recently received its license to become a national station, ... ... and from its small community niche, it is looking forward to expanding ... ... its outreach to other Caribbean and international communities, through the internet. Having us streaming online will help the radio station to be known more ... ... by the wider community and also regionally and internationally. It can also help the communities gather more information. While most media organizations have established websites to replicate ... ... rather than supplement programming, Toco Radio is poised to draw on ... ... the opportunities offered by the World Wide Web to extend its reach ... ... to the global community. In tuning in to the community it serves, it presents information targeted ... ... at specific audience needs, an approach from which larger and ... ... mainstream media can benefit. It is living proof that agriculture news, an agriculture beat, ... ...and an agriculture reporter have a place in the modern newsroom.

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 36 seconds
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: Kris Rampersad
Director: Kris Rampersad
Views: 305
Posted by: on Nov 20, 2009

Agriculture in the Caribbean is struggling above the ‘noise’ of other competing interests for attention in the media. Media in the Caribbean take a range of forms, but because of the various levels of media development by different countries in the region, coverage of agriculture is also subject to limitations of media operations in the region. It is both a symptom and a cause of the low positioning of Agriculture on national and regional policy agendas and in the media. This short video is taking a comparative look at the challenges and opportunities available for projection of the agriculture sector in conventional and new media, with special focus on two modes: print and radio modes.

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