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AATF and Kenya Editors Guild sign MoU to promote biotechnology reporting

Dr. Canisius Kanangire, AATF Executive Director, and Zubeidah Kananu, the President of the Kenya Editors’ Guild, after the signing of the MoU at the AATF offices in Nairobi, Kenya, on 24th May 2024

AATF and the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance journalists’ capacity to report accurately on agricultural biotechnology to address misinformation around the technology. This partnership will foster collaboration for boosting agricultural development through scientific advancements and strengthen the dialogue between editors, their audiences, and scientists.

At the signing ceremony, Dr. Canisius Kanangire, AATF Executive Director, acknowledged the importance of accurate information and education in agricultural biotechnology to enhance adoption and uptake by the end users- farmers.

“Despite the 27 years since the introduction of genetically modified organism (GMOs), public perception on agricultural biotechnology remains clouded by misinformation,” said Dr. Kanangire, adding that AATF recognizes the vital role of journalism in educating the public, promoting ethical standards, and engaging various stakeholders on the benefits of agricultural biotechnology for a prosperous and food-secure Africa as envisioned in the AATF Strategy 2023-2027.

“By uniting our efforts and leveraging the power of science and media, we can develop impactful solutions tailored to the unique needs of our region. Our collaboration with the Kenya Editors’ Guild will help disseminate accurate information and promote the benefits of agricultural biotechnology,” he pointed out.

In 2023, AATF and KEG held a brainstorming meeting in Nairobi, where actions to sustain learning opportunities and enhance dialogue between editors and scientists were recommended.

He noted that smallholder farmers, who produce 70 percent of the food supply, are crucial to improving agricultural productivity and reducing poverty on the continent.

Speaking at the same event, Zubeidah Kananu, the President of the Kenya Editors’ Guild stated that the partnership agreement will promote the dissemination of accurate, relevant, and impactful information on agricultural technologies.

“This collaboration is not only timely but also essential in addressing the challenges faced by our agricultural sector, enhancing food security, and driving sustainable development across our continent,” she said.

‘‘The Kenya Editors’ Guild is committed to ensuring that our reporters and editors are equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively communicate advancements in agricultural technology to the public,” Kananu added.

She observed that newsrooms across the country have invested significantly in telling stories on climate change and smart agriculture. “This collaboration with AATF comes at a crucial time and promises to provide much-needed support. By working together, we can ensure that our journalists and editors have the resources and tools necessary to effectively communicate advancements in agricultural technology to the public,” she said.

Daniel Magondu, the OFAB champion and chairman of the Society for Biotech Farmers of Kenya (SOBIFAK), posed a critical question: “Why should farmers share their sweat with insects? Where else would you want us to go if not adopting agricultural innovations that have been proven to tackle the agricultural challenges we are facing now?” Magondu expressed optimism about the partnership, stating, “With such engagements with partners like AATF and KEG, I see that we as farmers are not alone. Mugo recommended a draft of measures that he said would meaningfully help smallholder farmers, including access to irrigation, technologies, knowledge, and inputs to boost farming productivity.”

Panorama

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