Another gong has been added to The Sunrise’s collection of awards and cemented the paper’s standing in the development communication arena.
On Thursday, the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) together with the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST) and the Uganda Science Journalists Association (USJA) chose Henry Lutaaya, The Sunrise editor as one of the three best writers on biotechnology.
The Agricultural Biotechnology Journalism Awards 2017 were organised as part of the activities to commemorate ten years since OFAB was created. OFAB is a platform for discussing opportunities and challenges brought about by biotechnology. It is supported by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) in ten countries in Africa.
The award is the second piece of recognition this year by the scientific community for Lutaaya and The Sunrise. Besides recognising the individual, institution’s efforts and outstanding performance in reporting on new technologies, authorities say the awards demonstrate the importance attached to science communication in overcoming barriers to poor attitudes held by the general public towards science.
In May 2017, Lutaaya was chosen as the best writer on biotechnology (online category) by the Uganda Bio-Information Centre (UBIC), a branch of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO).
The Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye commended the winners and their media houses for dedicating themselves to bringing about positive change in the lives of Ugandans through accurate and relevant reporting on science.
“By the year 2050, our population is estimated to be about 101 million people. Because our arable land is not expanding, we have to use modern farming techniques including the use of biotechnology to produce enough and nutritious food to meet the demand. The media has a critical role to play in transforming people’s mindsets for change,” said Dr. Tumwesigye while officiating at the awards event at Hotel Africana on Thursday.
The coordinator of OFAB Uganda Chapter Philip Chemonges observed that Ugandan farmers lose a lot of money through droughts and pest infestation, which they would otherwise have avoided if the country embraced biotechnology.