The publisher of Science Nigeria, Nkechi Isaac, has been awarded the Coordinators Award for her outstanding reportage of agricultural biotechnology by the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) under the auspices of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).
Presenting the award to her during the sixth edition of the OFAB Media Award and Gala Nite on Sunday (September 25, 2022) in Abuja, the country coordinator, OFAB Nigeria chapter, Dr. Rose Gidado rained plaudits on Isaac for her excellent and dedicated articles which have resulted to the sensitisation of the public and the creation of awareness on benefits and potentials of modern agricultural biotechnology in Nigeria.
In her remarks, she said the award was instituted to ensure that journalists reporting on agricultural biotechnology are exposed to best practices in the profession.
According to her, the sixth edition of the award recognised exemplary journalism that stimulates best practices in the adoption of agricultural technologies, particularly agricultural biotechnology.
“Therefore, it seeks to recognise outstanding journalists in all media genres involved in the coverage of agric biotech stories in sub-Saharan Africa, to appreciate their contribution to promoting sustainable agricultural technologies.
“It also celebrates and promotes innovative, best practices in agricultural biotechnology and other agricultural technologies that address challenges of food insecurity, climate change and sustainable development,” she said.
Gidado further urged media houses and editors to take advantage of the award to showcase the professionalism and skill of the Nigerian media.
In her response, Isaac opined that agricultural biotechnology holds the key to Nigeria’s food sufficiency.
She thanked OFAB and its partners, NABDA and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) for the award, saying it will spur her to report accurately activities of the organisation for the promotion of agric biotech.
Earlier, the director-general of NABDA, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, highlighted the award as one dedicated to appreciating and celebrating members of the Fourth Estate of the realm who work assiduously to promote sustainable agricultural technologies in Nigeria.
Mustapha emphasised that no technological development has succeeded anywhere in the world without the media’s significant role in leading its propagation and ensuring its acceptance. He said this was why the agency acknowledged the strategic role of the media in building bridges across divides.
Represented by the agency’s director of agricultural biotechnology, Dr. Nasir Ibrahim, Mustapha said the media’s contributions to national development through the promotion of innovative best-practice in agricultural biotechnology and other agricultural technologies that address challenges of food insecurity, climate change and sustainable development are nothing less than signs of passion, perseverance and dedication which are commendable.
“In recognition of the centrality of food security to sustainable national development, NABDA is repositioning the agency to optimally provide cutting-edge biotechnology solutions. There is no gainsaying that Nigeria is on the path to attaining food and nutrition security with the recorded progress in the commercialisation of Bt cotton and Bt cowpea. However, one of the identified challenges in the way of Nigeria’s attainment of food security is widespread technophobia which results from misinformation. Many well-meaning Nigerians are unaware of the benefits of biotechnology. Others are misinformed about it, while some have embraced conspiracy theories alleging that biotechnology is aimed at reducing the human population.
“Given the above, the role of the media is clear; to ensure Nigeria promptly adopts biotechnology solutions for sustainable development. Being a veritable channel of public education, I urge you, gentlemen of the press, to continuously prioritise the dissemination of fact-based information about biotechnology and counter popular myths that do not fuel national progress. Objective dissemination of scientific facts will significantly make the business environment more friendly and accommodating, spur investments in biotechnology and aid rapid commercialisation of research findings,” he added.
In his keynote address titled “Media as Catalyst for Agricultural Transformation,” the vice-chancellor, Federal University Kashere, Prof. Umaru Pate, said Nigeria’s burgeoning population called for the urgent need for the production of sufficient food to feed her populace.
The don warned that the survival of the nation is threatened, due to her inability to feed her teeming populace.
He, therefore, tasked agricultural development institutions to collaborate with the media for advocacy, publicity and influence on the policies of government.