Journalists, others join crusade to fight food insecurity and poverty

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With funding from the Danish Food and Agriculture Journalists (DFAJ), NAC is currently training local journalists in the battle to win the fight against food insecurity and poverty in The Gambia on the theme: ‘How Can Improved Agricultural Journalism Help Fight Poverty and Food Insecurity in The Gambia.’

The three-day seminar is underway at Djeliba Hotel in Kololi aimed at equipping journalists on the dos and don’ts of agricultural journalism and how the media can contribute in helping to reflect the voices of farmers.

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Speaking at the opening ceremony, the representative of DFAJ, Mr Finn Asnaes said: “The conference is the result of a multi-annual cooperation between NAC and DFAJ.  A partnership, whose first concrete result was a 10-day training course, which was planned and carried out in cooperation with GPU in November 2012.

“It was ten days training that gave the participants new ideas and inspiration on how to improve their journalistic work. It is a statement that I can make at this time point because last week on our research trip into the country, I met some of the participants and they confirmed that they started seeing things in a new perspective and hereby have been able to make better programmes,” he explained.

 “Danish and Gambian cultures are different, however, I believe it is important to have the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas. It is in the dialogue between different attitudes and perceptions that new ideas and methods emerge thus creating progress for all. In Denmark, education and information have been the key to the Danish agricultural success. But we also spent many years on developing it. DJAF is an organisation that has existed for more than 110 years. Cooperation between agricultural journalists and communicators has secured training, knowledge-sharing and thus more relevant and targeted information.”

Another factor that contributed to the development of Danish agriculture is the co-operation between farmers; not only cooperation on knowledge transfer, but on building large cooperative enterprises such as slaughterhouses, dairies, commercial companies supplying commodities to the farmers and others taking care of global exports and research institutions, a work that Danish farmers began 150 years ago, he said.

Amadou J Jallow, the president of the Network of Agricultural Communicators in The Gambia explained: “The project is divided into two activities. In the first activity, NAC and our Danish partners, Danish Food and Agricultural Journalists, from the 3rd to 6th March, 2014 dispatched a four-man delegation to embark on a nationwide research trip to farmer communities and community radio stations within the country. The trip was intended to establish the currently missing links between the farmers and journalists, knowing the importance of the media as a tool for development.”

The successful completion of this seminar bears a huge interest on NAC and its stakeholders, as it will be a determining factor of the network’s prospective access to funding from our Danish partners.

“As stakeholders in the agriculture sector, we should try as much as we can to genuinely conduct ourselves and represent the best interest of our people. We must all focus attention on the promotion and enhancement of the best agricultural practices. NAC, as relatively young as it is, with its committed executive and members, has a vision to transform our agricultural methods by offering trainings to agriculture journalists of the best reporting procedures on agriculture and provide expert advice to the farmers with a view to empowering and helping them to improve their yields,” he said.

His words: “The fight against poverty and food insecurity is a formidable challenge that cannot be achieved in isolation. So we come here today to remind ourselves about the solid urgency of NOW.  Journalists as major contributors to development of the nation must bear in mind that our single and responsible reportage on agricultural matters can bring to light a robust change in the sector.’

He commended Per Henrik Hasen, a member of the board and international secretary of the DFAJ for his effort in the possibility of this project.

Benjamin Fiofor, representative of Farm Radio Canada, Sana Camara representative of the Gambia Press Union and Madi Ceesay of ActionAid, The Gambia all urged the trainees to take the training seriously and apply skills acquired in their respective newsrooms.

Author: Sainey MK Marenah

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