Ergot To Egyptian Dinner Tables

Country/area: Egypt

Organisation: Journalists for Arab Investigative Journalism (ARIJ)

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 22 Jan 2020

Credit: Mohammed Hamid – Design and development Saleem Sakakini – Aya Almanaseer

Project description:

Egypt largely relies on importing low-quality types of Russian wheat, especially since the suspension of the Wheat Farmers Support program at the beginning of 2017, which led to local wheat crop recession. This resulted in a 12% decline in domestic production in three years; from 9.3 million tonnes in 2016 to 8.1 million tonnes in 2019.

We used an innovative design for the investigation that contained a very large amount of data, numbers and statistics. The investigation revealed the misfortune and deterioration of the wheat imported by the Egyptian government

Impact reached:

A briefing request was submitted in the Egyptian Parliament, and several discussions took place between researchers and analysts about the necessity to change and amend the Egyptian standard for importing wheat. It had a great resonance among journalists in the Arab world, which called on the channel Deutsche Welle to re-publish the investigation through its channel. https://ms-my.facebook.com/dw.sulta5/videos/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B1%D8%AC%D9%88%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%A6%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%8A%D9%86/604041203772001/

A large number of citizens wrote to us after the investigation was published on social media, Facebook and Twitter.

Techniques/technologies used:

= In the beginning we used Excel to collect data, and we used tools to add, subtract, and restructure the data.
= We used imagery and location tools to track cargo ships and their schedules.
= We used open source data to collect.
= Then we used an innovative design in which we drew the ship’s route from the Russian ports to the Egyptian ports.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part of the project was getting the information from the Egyptian government, which blocked the investigation, because they refused to give me any information or data, so I had to get it very hard.
Then, the government tried to hit me once when I was trying to get a comment from them on the investigation.

What can others learn from this project?

= I think it was patience and persistence that made me carry out the investigation.
= Knowledge and scrutiny of all the information obtained.
= Diversifying sources, and not being satisfied with government sources that have closed in my face.
= Maintaining my personal safety.

Project links: