By Patrick Biddah
The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) has awarded some journalists for their contributions towards promoting the benefits of biotechnology.
The journalists, who are three in number, were awarded at a ceremony in Accra.
They were, Reuben Quainoo of Ghana Agricultural & Rural Development Association (GARDJA) , who won in the radio category. He was presented with a plaque, products and a cheque worth GH¢3000
Lydia Ezit of Daily Graphic won in the online category which saw her go home with a plague, products and a cheque of GH¢ 3000 and the Runner-Up in the online category also went to William Sarpong of the Environmental Guide portal .
Speaking at the award ceremony which was the sixth edition, the Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research ,Prof. Paul Bossu, emphasized that the awards is to encourage these journalists who out of the many issues, have dedicated time and energy in educating and strengthening public awareness on the importance of agricultural biotechnology for food security.
For him, “The OFAB Media Award is a demonstration of the importance of responsible journalism and media communication in this critical field of science and agriculture which remains a critical part of the developmental conversation of every nation.
OFAB, which has been operating for 12 years, instituted the awards six years ago to promote and recognize the role of the media in its activities.
With these awards, Prof .Bossu, said it recognises those who have excelled in their efforts to convey the benefits of biotechnology and at the same time taking into consideration the ethical values associated with the technology.
“Your work contributes to fostering dialogue, promoting innovation, and advancing policies that support sustainable agriculture and food security”, he stressed.
Much as there is a challenge with people accepting this technology, Prof. Bossu, said there is the need to continue to support and encourage the media in their vital role to help in getting people to understand and appreciate the technology.
“The decisions we make today regarding biotechnology will have profound consequences for the future of agriculture, the environment, and our society as a whole.”, he emphasized.
The National Coordinator at the OFAB Ghana, Dr. Richard Ampadu-Ameyaw, in his welcome address, said OFAB is a platform that brings together stakeholders in biotechnology and enables interactions between scientists, journalists, civil society, industrialists, lawmakers and policy.
According to him, their platform helps to indicate that science and technology are catalysts for economic innovation.
“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 contributing to the global and enabling environment for informed and timely decision-making of the technology”, he revealed.
The Media Award , he pointed is a celebration of the remarkable efforts made by journalists and media professionals in informing, educating, and raising awareness about agricultural biotechnology.
According to him , the media space is the catalyst for addressing some of the most pressing global challenges, such as food security, climate change, and sustainable agriculture.
“It is through media storytelling that we can bridge the gap between the science of biotechnology and the broader public, helping them make informed decisions and understand the potential benefits it holds for our society” he stressed
Aside from the three awardees, the OFAB Champion 2023 award went to Dr Ibrahim Atokple, the first Principal Investigator who started the PBR Cowpea project. He took home a plague.