Writers Do Laundry Too + writing contests

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation Competition for ACP Journalists 2012 (€2,000 top prize | Africa/ Carribean)

Deadline: 10 August 2012

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), in conjunction with UNECA and other international organizations and the private sector is organizing an international conference on value chains, to take place on 6-9 November 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dubbed ‘making the connection: value chains for transforming smallholder agriculture’, the conference will bring together more than 400 experts, including private sector, government officials, development partners, civil society, farmer organizations and academics, to share experiences on value chain development and discuss how best smallholder farmers can be incorporated into value chains in order to promote agricultural and rural development.

The conference will focus on strengthening agricultural value chains that enable smallholders to become more actively engaged in market-led agriculture: transforming the role of the smallholder into that of an entrepreneur. The meeting aims to identify the conditions necessary to create a broader and more solid knowledge base for the promotion of sustainable value chains, including training and information-sharing needs. It also seeks to provide an opportunity to exchange current ideas, knowledge, new approaches and best practices in order to both strengthen the efficiency and profitability of existing commercial value chains and assist those working to promote value chain development in order to strengthen economic growth in smallholder communities. Participants will also discuss issues related to trends impacting on value chain development, innovation, sustainability and scaling up, and capacity building.


One of the conference activities is the journalists’ competition aimed to encourage journalists and media specialists to investigate the challenges and opportunities for involving smallholder farmers in value chains, showcase success stories and best practices that can be replicated and raise awareness on the importance of value chains in agricultural and rural development.

Focus areas: The journalists are required to submit original pieces with concrete examples, which corresponded to one or more of the five main themes of the conference below:

1. Trends impacting on value chain development. As urban areas expand, the middle class grows, people develop new tastes and busy families seek foods that are ready-prepared or easier to prepare, there are considerable opportunities for value chain development, both in domestic and export markets. What are the implications of these trends? How do existing chains need to adapt and what changes need to be made in the way new chains develop, in order to take advantage of potential markets? Offsetting these opportunities, however, are many threats. Will some agricultural value chains prove unsustainable in terms of production, processing or distribution? What will be the impact of climate change in terms of the need for both mitigation and adaptation? What are likely long-term trends with certification and could these trends spell the end of small farmers? The Conference will therefore seek to provide guidance to companies on how they should be planning for the future and to governments on how they can facilitate necessary adaptations by value chains. How can governments and the private sector plan for future interventions necessary to facilitate value chain adaptations? Are there any success stories to this effect?

2. Value chain innovation. There have been many innovations introduced by the private sector to meet market demand and increase competitiveness, whether in terms of developing new products or processes or improving logistics. Donors and technical assistance agencies have also successfully introduced innovations to strengthen the operation of value chains. What innovations have been introduced by the private sector to improve market-led value chains? What role have modern ICTs played in promoting value chains?

3. Enabling environments. Value chains cannot be upgraded in isolation. The success of “vertical” chains depends as much on external or “horizontal” impacts as on the internal efficiency of the chain itself. Chain upgrading is unlikely to be successful in a context that is not conducive to the “Ease of Doing Business”, i.e. where macro-economic and other policies, rules and regulations, international trading agreements, etc. and their implementation are unsupportive and the financial and general business environment is inappropriate. How can conducive environments be improved to support agribusiness and how can value chain actors work together to promote improvements? Are there any success stories to share on the above?

4. Sustainability and scaling up. In the field of agricultural value chain development the concept of “sustainability” tends to be used in two ways. On the one hand is the issue of the “greening” of chains to promote environmental and resource sustainability. How can production be sustained in a world of finite natural and land resources, declining water availability, etc? How can agricultural and livestock production be carbon neutral? How can waste and resource-use in the entire value chain be reduced? On the other hand is the question of economic sustainability. What are the factors necessary to ensure that commercial investments have long-term profitability? How can donor-supported interventions continue to be profitable long after the donors have left? Related to both of these uses of sustainability is the whole question of scaling up. Developments by commercial companies may be environmentally sustainable when working with 200 farmers but not with 20,000. Value chain upgrading by donors may work as a result of intensive support to a few hundred farmers but the same level of success may not be achieved for many more farmers when no donor support is available. How can the private sector and donors work in partnership to ensure sustainable scaling up?

5. Capacity development. What new knowledge, skills and infrastructure are needed in order that chain participants, government officials, civil society, etc. can best make use of value chain tools and approaches? Can existing tools and methodologies be simplified for cost-efficient use outside of the context of donor interventions? Do generic tools have to be adapted to national or regional circumstances? Are existing training materials and other capacity development activities that cover different value chain stages (e.g. production, harvesting, post-harvest handling, marketing, agro-processing, contract farming, certification) adequate and, if not, how can gaps be addressed? Are existing arrangements for sharing information on value chain activities adequate and, if not, what steps should be taken to promote information exchange?


The pieces should demonstrate that the author(s) understand the issues as well as the potential of value chain development in agricultural and rural development. The main selection criteria for the pieces are:

a. Originality and quality of analysis;
b. Creativity;
c. Relevance and responsiveness to development challenges;
d. Quality of language (engaging writing style, good spelling and grammar, etc.);
e. Presence of bibliography and/or other relevant references;
f. Respect of the prescribed format of the text:

  • Number of words - print: between 1,200 and 1,500. Audio-visual piece should not exceed 5 minutes.
  • Font : Arial;
  • Size of characters : 11
  • Line spacing: 1.5

NB: Marks are also to be awarded to journalist/media specialists whose pieces have been published or broadcasted in national, regional or international news outlets before 10 August 2012. The date of publication must be included on the submission as only original pieces that have been prepared after the announcement of this call are to be considered.


The competition is open to all media and communication professionals (either print or electronic), from established media houses, private and public sector organizations (e.g government ministries) and non-governmental organizations including farmers’ organizations who are nationals of the African, Caribbean and the Pacific Group of States. Entries should be original pieces. The piece is restricted to the country in which the journalist/media specialist operates.


Your journalistic piece must reach the organizers by 10 August 2012 to be considered for inclusion in the conference. Applicants can submit their entry in French or English in either print or electronic format. Please indicate the “ACP Media Competition 2012” in the heading of your email. Entries should be submitted to makingtheconnection@cta.int with a copy to mikenga@cta.int


An international panel of judges from the media, value chains, extension and advisory services, policy, and farmers’ organizations will work in collaboration with a chief judge to review shortlisted entries and make their recommendations to the International Steering Committee for the Conference. CTA has identified four judges including a member of CTA staff. The judges are expected to finalize a scoring system which integrates the criteria above into consideration.


The best journalistic piece will be selected for each of the six ACP regions (West Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, Pacific and Caribbean) using the established criteria. The top six finalists will be announced in October, 2012. The six regional finalists will be fully supported to attend the international value chains conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They will also each receive Euro 1,000 (one thousand) cash prize. In addition, they will be required to report on the event during the conference. Among the six, the best 3 will be selected.

The top three “Winners” will be announced during the International Value Chains meeting. The overall “Winner” – 1st place, will receive an additional Euro 1000. The second place winner will receive an additional Euro 500. The third place winner will receive an additional Euro 300. The top 3 “Winners” will also receive CTA trophies and book prizes.

The selected pieces will be published and promoted regionally, internationally and on the CTA and partners’ websites and other publications. Participants in the contest, in particular prize-winners, will have the opportunity to be involved in other CTA media related project activities. The prize giving event will take place on 9 November 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the International Value Chains Conference. More information on the contest is available at http://makingtheconnection.cta.int


  • The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation reserves the right to disqualify any entry if it does not meet the contest criteria and present regulations;
  • By entering, participants warrant that their entry materials are original and do not infringe on any third party's rights;
  • Entry to the contest constitutes an agreement to allow CTA to make, if necessary, articles, name, occupation and state of residence of applicants, public;
  • In addition it constitutes an agreement to allow CTA to use the material in its publications and in the framework of promotional activities. Applicants will retain ownership and all other rights to future use of their texts;
  • CTA will not be obliged to return submitted articles / videos to their authors;
  • All local taxes and fees on awards and prizes are the sole responsibility of the winner;
  • If, for any reason, the competition is not completed as planned, CTA reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend it;
  • The decisions made by the panel of judges and CTA are final and beyond dispute;
  • All participants in this competition implicitly accept the rules presented in this document.


“ACP” stands for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries who are signatories of the ACP-EU (European Union) Cotonou Agreement. ACP countries are the following: South Africa – Angola – Antigua and Barbuda – Bahamas – Barbados – Belize – Benin – Botswana – Burkina Faso – Burundi – Cameroon – Cap Vert – Chad – Comores – Central African Republic – Congo (Brazzaville) – Congo (Kinshasa) – Cook Islands – Cuba – Djibouti – Dominican Republic – Dominica – East Timor – Eritreia – Ethiopia – Equatorial Guinea – Fiji – Gabon – Gambia – Ghana – Grenada –Guinea-Bissau – Guyana – Haiti – Ivory Coast – Jamaica – Kenya – Kiribati – Lesotho – Liberia – Madagascar – Malawi – Mali – Marshall Islands – Maurice – Mauritania – Federated States of Micronesia – Mozambique – Namibia – Nauru – Niger – Nigeria – Niue – Palau – Papua New Guinea – Republic of Guinea – Rwanda – Saint Christopher and Nevis – Saint Vincent and Grenadines – Saint Lucia – Samoa – Sao Tome – Senegal – Seychelles – Sierra Leone – Solomon Islands and Principe – Somalia – Sudan – Suriname – Swaziland – Tanzania – Togo – Tonga – Trinidad and Tobago – Tuvalu – Uganda – Vanuatu – Zambia –Zimbabwe


For queries/ submissions: makingtheconnection@cta.int, cc Mikenga@cta.int

Website: http://www.cta.int/

africa literature, and more:

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation Competition for ACP Journalists 2012 (€2,000 top prize | Africa/ Carribean) + writing contests