THE Kenya Chapter of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) has recognised journalists for their consistent reporting on agricultural biotechnology.

The event, held in Nairobi on August 9, 2018, brought together more than 150 biotechnology stakeholders, including journalists, scientists, policy makers, regulators, and producers.

Presiding over the event, Principal Secretary (PS) in the State Department of Agriculture Research at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, Prof Hamadi Boga, lauded OFAB’s role in engaging the media and supporting their efforts in educating the public about agricultural biotechnology.

He challenged journalists to deeply interrogate scientific issues, then decode and interpret complex biotechnology issues for better understanding by the public.

“This event is an exercise that will stimulate journalists to talk more about science, especially biotechnology and other emerging technologies,” the PS observed. ISAAA AfriCenter Director and OFAB-Kenya chapter chair, Dr Margaret Karembu, acknowledged the role of media in cultivating public awareness.

“Armed with accurate information, journalists have a critical role in shaping public and policy opinions that can lead to speedy adoption of agricultural biotechnology, noting even as Africa debates, global adoption continues to rise.

“This has contributed to higher yields and increased farm incomes greatly reducing poverty, hunger and malnutrition in some regions most prone to these challenges.

“These benefits have spurred an increase in global acreage of biotech crops from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 189.8 million hectares in 2017.

“Biotechnology can thus make a significant contribution towards achieving the Kenyan Government’s Big Four Agenda, and the media are best placed to pass this information to the wider public,” she said.

Four journalists were awarded for their consistency in reporting and sensitising the public on agricultural biotechnology.

The top winners were Philip Keitany and cameraman Japheth Makau of Kenya Television Network (KTN). Radio Maisha’s Rose Mukonyo, Brian Okinda of Daily Nation were the first and second runner up winners, respectively.

The winning journalists will participate in OFAB Africa Media Awards (OMAs) in September 2018 to be held in Burkina Faso.

For more on OFAB-Kenya media awards, contact Dr Margaret Karembu on [email protected]