By Murimi Gitari, October 17, 2022
Agatha Ngotho, a journalist for the Star newspaper emerged the winner of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) media awards that recognizes journalist who report on agricultural biotechnology.
The agriculture journalist emerged the winner after submitting three stories on agricultural biotechnology with Vincent Anguche of Radio Citizen and Victor Muturi of Radio France International being announced for the 1st Runners up position.
The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) Kenya Media Awards honors journalist who have distinguished themselves in the coverage of agricultural biotechnology on Tv, radio, print and online.
Dr Margaret Karembu, Director of ISAAA-AfriCenter (International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications Africa region who is also the chairperson of OFAB applauded the media’s contribution towards the crop biotech progress.
“The media have critically sensitised and educated the Kenyan public on crop biotechnology hence stimulating dialogue on its effective utilisation,” she said.
Receiving the award on behalf of Agatha, her spouse thanked the organizers noting that she has been submitting entries for the award in the previous years but she had not successfully emerged a winner.
Dr Karembu applauded the winners, and all who had submitted their entries for the award and appreciated their role in dissemination of factual information on agricultural biotechnology.
She also applauded the improvement in science reporting witnessed by the increased number of journalists who submitted entries in this year’s entry application as compared to the past, which has led to increased public understanding of the science behind agricultural biotechnology.
With support from OFAB, journalists have been instrumental in disseminating information on agricultural biotechnology from their interaction with experts conducting research and farmers.
Their stories have steadily increased awareness and recorded various attributes of technology and its contribution to the transformation of Africa’s agricultural sector.
Following the lifting of the ban on GMO crops by President William Ruto, Kenyan experts have called for depoliticisation of GMO’s.
Dr Karembu noted that GMO crops are based on empirical, analytical, and critical research and have been proven to be safe both for human consumption and the environment.
Gerald Masila, Executive Director, Eastern Africa Grain Council, who also spoke during the Gala Luncheon held at the Nairobi Serena Hotel, said that genetic modification has been employed in more than 70 countries globally to address challenges in agricultural production and there was no need for alarm to the farmers and citizens.
He also urged Kenyans to embrace innovations such asuse of GMOs in agriculture to address global and climatic challenges currently afflicting the world.
OFAB was established to share credible and evidence-based information on biotechnology as well as provide a platform for stakeholders to interact on agriculture biotechnology. It exists in 10 African countries –Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi.
The winner and first runners up were selected by a panel of four judges that reviewed entries submitted by journalists from various media houses, in Kenya.