Case study

DFID Research: Online access to global agricultural information

With over 200,000 readers around the world, New Agriculturist covers a wide range of stories and issues in agriculture and rural development

New Agriculturist magazine being read in Tanzania
New Agriculturist magazine being read in Tanzania

“I regularly update myself through New Agriculturist,” writes Muhammad Faheem Akbar from a government ministry in Pakistan. Akbar is just one of a growing number of policymakers, scientists, development professionals, lecturers, students, farmers and media professionals in developed and developing countries who value New Agriculturist as an online journal that keeps them abreast of trends, results and innovations in agricultural policy, research and development.

New Agriculturist focusses particularly on Africa, but with articles and contributions also from Asia, Latin America and small-island states in the Caribbean and Pacific.

“I depend on New Agriculturist for new and up-to-date development approaches, some of which I apply as they are and some of which I adapt to the situation in Zimbabwe. I am wiser with the information and therefore a better development facilitator.”
Elton Mudyazvivi, SNV Advisor for Economic Development, Zimbabwe

A trusted resource

Making use of striking images and with articles written to appeal to a wide audience, responses to recent online and phone surveys reveal that New Agriculturist is valued as a unique and highly trusted resource, providing a broad perspective on agricultural developments and debate worldwide. Country profiles are particularly valued, giving insights into the agricultural issues and challenges facing countries about which readers may have limited knowledge.

“I have been using it to try and convince policymakers in my country to see the options available…”
Josiah Maesua, principal of a vocational training institution, Solomon Islands/Fiji

Readers regularly circulate articles among work colleagues and students, helping to raise awareness on issues such as biofuels, biotechnology, emerging livestock diseases, organic farming and water management. Articles are regularly republished in other journals, and readers comment that they also use information from New Agriculturist in adapting technologies and working with farmers.

“We have trained 200 farmers using information from your articles which includes lessons on improved agricultural practices.”
Ruth Konchellah, director, Cherish Others Organisation, Kenya

Strengthening partnerships

Many of the articles in New Agriculturist are compiled collaboratively with researchers. And an increasing number of articles are commissioned from southern journalists, particularly following recent workshops on better science reporting, which have identified and trained African journalists with a keen interest and ambition for reporting on agriculture.

The latest version of the New Agriculturist on CD has been recently released, including editions up to the end of December 2008. This valuable resource, available free-of-charge, has proved popular, particularly in countries where internet access is difficult, and also among readers wishing to share articles with colleagues or fellow students. 1000 copies will be distributed this year.

Over 2,000 readers receive email notifications for each edition. Many other readers use RSS feeds, whilst a growing number also subscribe to the podcast, providing audio highlights of each edition. With thousands of articles, debates and picture stories available online and on CD, New Agriculturist is keeping a growing audience up-to-date with agricultural developments around the world.

New Agriculturist is funded by DFID and produced by WRENmedia.

Published 17 July 2009