Friday, January 30, 2009

Campo in Crisis

I reported two stories for CNN this week about Argentina's drought, the worst in half-a-century.

I witnessed the devastation first-hand on a visit to San Miguel del Monte, where I took these photos.

My first report aired on Tuesday, and examined the emergency decree declared by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to help farmers cope with the drought.

To get reaction from farm leaders, CNN en Espanol correspondent Javier Doberti, cameraman Eduardo Aragona and I staked out a meeting in downtown Buenos Aires on a sweltering afternoon. The farmers and the government are constantly at odds, so the back-and-forth between the two entities is always front-page news here, therefore any and all appearances by farming leaders is always covered "en vivo y en directo" (LIVE) by the five, yes that's right five, 24-hour news station based in Buenos Aires.

When Eduardo Buzzi of the Argentine Agrarian Federation arrived he took a few questions. I had to contend with an over-zealous cameraman, who kept pushing me to try and get a better shot. I know better than to be pushed around by shooters, so I stood my ground, kept the microphone steady, and we got the sound and pictures that we needed. Fortunately, Javier was able to grab Buzzi for a one-on-one interview immediately after (much to the consternation of the local press, but that's the benefits of working for CNN). The exclusive quotes from Buzzi are what we both used in our reports that day.

After gathering archive footage of the drought, as well as soundbites from Kirchner's announcement, I began writing my script, and once approved, I took a quick taxi ride with Javier and Eduardo to the Casa Rosada to shoot my "stand-up" which is what I used to "close" my report.

To get a better understanding of how the drought is affecting Argentine farmers, we traveled the next day to San Miguel del Monte, 65 miles southwest of Buenos Aires, where we met with local farmers Juan Cahen D'Anvers and Cesar Gioia, as well as the Argentine Rural Society representative, Lorena del Rio. Here's that report.

As you can see from the photos, it is ugly. Dead cows. Scorched crops. Bone-dry canals and rivers. Farmers are losing lots of money, and world supplies of commodities like soy, wheat, corn and beef could be threatened, as Argentina is one of the world's top exporters of these products.

Here's a report I wrote for about the situation.

I hope for the farmers sake, and consumers around the world, that some rain is on the way.

1 comment:

kory said...

Great job reporting drought in ARG.

Please do follow ups

Kory Melby

Goiania, Brazil