After 34 years of uninterrupted publication, this Spore issue will be the final edition as, with the end of the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and ACP countries, the financial and legal framework that has supported CTA, and hence Spore, will expire.
During my travels over the last decade as CTA director, I have met with a wide range of partners, including many senior government officials who have often told me how much they have appreciated Spore as a valuable source of information for their work. The information provided in Spore has been instrumental in knowledge exchange, in the sharing of different opinions and insights, and in providing readers with the latest developments in agriculture. Spore has helped shape curricula and training materials, set up new business ventures and allowed many to keep up-to-date with information that was not readily available elsewhere. Extension officers who have gone on to hold senior positions within ministries and other key departments have informed me that Spore continued to be valued as they moved from working with farmers in the field to more advisory and decision-making positions.
Spore has been respected for the insights and innovations it has highlighted to its readers; for the service it has provided in facilitating exchange in good farming practices across ACP practitioners; and, for many, the magazine could almost be considered a household name. In recent years, with the digitalisation of Spore, we have worked to provide the articles in a variety of formats, beyond just the print magazine, so that it is more readily available and accessible to a younger and more digitally-minded audience, while not neglecting our long-standing, traditional readership.
It is not always easy to measure the extensive impact of a publication over such a long period of time but we know that Spore is recognised and appreciated for the quality of its agricultural journalism across ACP regions, including allowing a network of Francophone and Anglophone correspondents to have an avenue for providing stories from the field. With our monthly opinion pieces, we have been able to encourage the sharing of different viewpoints from a range of highly respected organisations and, in our Spore exclusive interviews, to feature high-level experts and practitioners in agricultural and agribusiness development to share their perspectives. In this edition see, for example, our interviews with Dr Agnes Kalibata of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and World Bank and African Development Bank experts discussing digitalisation for agriculture.
It is the end of an era and I have no doubt that Spore will be missed but, at CTA, we are pleased that we have been part – and even led – critical conversations on key topics on agricultural transformation through this timeless publication.
It has been an honour and privilege for me to have been associated with Spore for many years.