Shot in the arm for small farmers – The Observer

Date: October 9, 2010
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Name of article: Shot in the arm for small farmers
Name of Publication: Windhoek Observer
Date: Saturday 31 October – Friday 6 November 2009
Country: Namibia
Theme: Agriculture
Skills: Writing
Genre: News and images

GEM Classification: Missed opportunities/Gender blind

Description: The article is about the donation of 17,000 Namibian Dollars to the Guwiseb Farmers Cooperative to set up a veterinary outlet in Hoachanas.

The story is completely gender blind as it misses the opportunity to bring in the gender aspect of how farming affects women in the region and what such a donation would do for them. In Namibia, like other SADC countries, farming provides employment to a large number of people and most of these small-scale farmers are women.

The article is basically a public relations exercise as it only talks about the donation and ignores the challenges of the farming sector. It does not explore how small-scale farmers stand to benefit.
The headline: Shot in the arm for small farmers, is a catchy headline and a play on words. It is relevant to the story.

The chairman of AGRA’s board is quoted and there is background research provided on the challenges farmers face and how the donation will assist farmers. The recipients, while pictured, are given no voice.

The language is simple and the tone applauds the funders.

Visual Images
The picture shows the donor and beneficiaries holding a large bank cheque. Senior Manager of AGRA’s Corporate Affairs (female) and the Namibian Farmer’s Union (male) as well as a member of the Guwiseb Farmer’s Cooperative (female) carry the cheque. These three people could have been interviewed.

Story angle and perspective
The story angle pursued is from AGRA’s perspective and the article reads like an advertorial, despite providing information on the challenges farmers face. The journalist could have better explained how the funds would actually assist farmers deal with their challenges.

Placement or positioning
The story appears on page nine in the Agriculture section of the newspaper. The body and picture are about the same size. The article is prominently displayed.


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