The 4th Edition of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Ghana Chapter media awards ceremony came off successfully in Accra.
It was under the theme "Promoting Credible and Balanced Science Reporting for Quality Seed Development and Food Security."
The event which took place at the CSIR-Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI) on Friday, 16th October 2020 was to honor and acknowledge hard-working journalists promoting Agricultural - Science as well as Biotechnology in the country.
The Director-General at the CSIR, Prof. Victor Kwame Agyemang, in his welcome address acknowledged the efforts of the media in disseminating information relating to Agricultural - Science.
"I am surprised people say that the media is the fourth estate, to me probably you are the first estate because the media are the prime movers in this country. It is basically true and we believe that the media are our prime collaborators when it comes to the issue of science and to disseminate the findings of science.
"Secondly, we always say that scientists are not really good at communicating their findings to the ordinary person. When you listen to the news, about 50 % of the things they say you do not really understand, it takes someone who is trained to be able to break down scientific findings into very easy words for the ordinary person to understand. That is why it is always important for scientists to partner with the media to be able to disseminate our findings," he stated.
The National Local Coordinator at the OFAB, Richard Ampadu-Ameyaw, also stated that their mission is to believe in knowledge sharing through advocacy.
"We have only one mission, and that is to enhance knowledge sharing and awareness of Agricultural Biotechnology as a way of raising understanding and appreciation of Biotechnology and contribute to the global and enabling environment for informed and timely decision making of the technology," he said.
He stated that they have outlined important activities in order to realise the aim and goal at OFAB.
"At OFAB Ghana, we do the following activities, we often have a policy for policymakers, we have a dialogue with the scientific committee, we also do training and workshop programs for farmers and allied groups, we do training and workshops for the media professionals and awards schemes to motivate our scientific reporters. We also organise seeing-is-believing tours for various stakeholders, we also facilitate platforms for dialogue with other stakeholders," the National Coordinator, Richard Ampadu-Ameyaw disclosed.
The Vice President of the Ghana Journalists Association, (GJA), Mrs. Linda Asante-Agyei, delivering her statement on the theme "Promoting Credible and Balanced Science Reporting for Quality Seed Development & Food Security" said it was important to promote and achieve food security.
"To achieve food security, seeds play a critical role in whether farmers' harvest will be a bumper one or not depending slightly on the type of seeds they use in planting. Quality foods, therefore, become basic critical information from several other farm inputs such as fertilizer application, weeding, and others depending on their growth to fertilize.
"Seeds are very critical and as such, they are the most crucial inputs in Agricultural production, now fortified seed usage and its margin application in simple Agricultural technology can also lead to the addition of crops, fields as well as enable others to gain food security and more credibility," she said.
The Vice president quizzed how best would journalists set the agenda to promote the availability of policies to improve food security.
"Journalists play a critical role in nation-building through information and education. In science, they need to provide evidence. Science as it is, embraces transparency, subjects new resort for authentic solutions.
The awards ceremony saw Zadok Kwame Gyesi of the Graphic Communication group limited walk home with the overall winner in the online/print category
He was presented with a plaque, products, and a cheque worth 1000 cedis.
The 1st Runner-Up in the online category award also went to Benedicta Gyimaah Folley.
She also took home a plague, products, and a cheque of 800 cedis.
The Special Recognition Award went to Francisca Dickson Arhin of the Gh one TV
She took home a citation, products, and a cheque of 500 cedis.
To facilitate and promote dialogue and collaboration both nationally and internationally among stakeholders on agricultural biotechnology, through constructive discourse and networking.
OFAB Ghana Chapter
The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) is a platform that brings together stakeholders in biotechnology and enables interactions between scientists, journalists, the civil society, industrialists, lawmakers and policy makers. It is a monthly lunch meeting that provides an opportunity for key stakeholders to know one another, share knowledge and experiences, make new contacts and explore new avenues of bringing the benefits of biotechnology to the African agricultural sector.