The annual congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) has opened in the medieval German town of Bonn.
Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo is one of two Ghanaian journalists participating in the conference of about 200 agricultural journalists/communicators from across the world.
The 60th Congress of the Federation which is running between July 13 – July 17 is discussing how journalists can work with stakeholders across the world to ensure sustainable agriculture.
Scientists, government officials, civil society, researchers, United Nations experts and journalists will be brainstorming on how the world’s major agricultural resources including land and water bodies can be preserved even in the light of intensified efforts to feed a growing world population.
As part of the Congress is an award ceremony which will see Fox FM reporter, Richmond Frimpong, who is also president of the Ghana Agric and Rural Development Journalists Association pick up one of the ten IFAJ-ALLTECH 2016 Young Leaders in Agriculture Journalism Awards. The award recognizes the leadership potential of young members from countries belonging to IFAJ.
The Congress will also elect new executives and plan a range of activities to ensure the professional development of agric journalists across the world over the next one year.
“As journalists, we are all linked by a common curiosity – a thirst for knowledge and a desire to become better at what we do. We want to learn more about each other. Yes, it is an exciting time to be involved in this profession and to walk our journey together with fantastic colleagues from all parts of the world,” President of IFAJ, Markus Regiger noted.
Speaking on theme for the Congress; Agriculture made in Germany – social, efficient and ecological, Mr Regiger said, “We want to show how agriculture contributes to the new Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations. The fight against hunger and poverty, the protection of nature and biodiversity depends on agriculture,” Chairwoman of the German Guild of Agricultural Journalists Dr. Katharina Seuser explained.
The Joy News reporter is one of 10 journalists participating in the congress and the “Ag Reporters” programme at the invitation of the German Guild of Agricultural Journalists with support from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Daily Graphic’s Zainabu Issah is the other participating Ghanaian journalists.
The “Ag Reporters” project, a curtain raiser for the 2016 IFAJ congress, brought together young international agricultural journalists/communicators and masters students of the Deutsche Welle Academy as well as the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences for training at the premises of Germany’s international broadcaster DW-TV.
They also held meetings with the Advisor at the United Nations’ Convention to Combat Diversification, Sandrine Jaufret, and Spokesperson of the UN’s Climate Change Secretariat Nick Nutall, for insight into ongoing efforts to reduce the negative effects of global warming on agriculture.
“We have seen the real effect of climate change on agriculture in our part of the world… we have done documentaries about farmers not getting adequate yield because of poor rainfall patterns. We have told stories about people in coastal Ghana losing their homes to the rising sea level…,” Mr Gakpo noted as he quizzed the UN officials on what developed countries are doing to deal with the problem.
The UN officials called for more support from governments to ensure the recent Paris Agreement on climate change is implemented to the fullest to save the world.