Farmers ought to be reached with bio fortified crops - govt

24Jul 2018
Gerald Kitabu
The Guardian
Farmers ought to be reached with bio fortified crops - govt

SCIENTISTS and agricultural researchers have been directed to ensure the biofortified crops displayed in different demo plots in agricultural research institutions go to the farmers as soon as possible to improve their nutritional status.

Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation Dr Charles Tizeba.

Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation Dr Charles Tizeba issued the directive over the weekend at the agribusiness expo 2018 held at the Arusha-based  Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) over the weekend. 

According to agriculture researchers, the biofortified crops enhance the nutritional value of staple food crops by increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in crops through conventional plant breeding.

He said all researches being conducted in different agricultural research institutions should solve the challenges facing the farmers and not research for the researchers to obtain certificates.

Citing an example, he said that there are some farmers surrounding agricultural research institutions but they have never benefited from the new technologies being displayed at demonstration plots at the institutions.

“How many of you know that there are pro-vitamin maize, or orange fleshed sweet potatoes in this institution? I can tell you that such nutritious maize are here for the 9th year now,” he said.

He urged the agricultural research institutions to improve communications departments to be effective and efficiency in communicating research results to the farmers.

“I want you to use qualified communications officers and media people to work together to effectively communicate these research results to the farmers and the general public as a whole. Don’t use unqualified people, your research will not reach the farmers as per your expectations,” he said.

During the exhibitions, minister Tizeba awarded reporters who won in different categories in Biofortification Media Award Competitions organised by Building Nutritious Food Baskets (BNFB).

Reporter for The Guardian Gerald Kitabu emerged the winner in print and Online category. Other winners and their categories were Maria Philbert (Radio Kwizera) and Calvin Gwabara (SUA TV).  

The awards for the first and second run-up went to Hawa Bihoga (DW) first run-up, Elias Msuya (Mwananchi)-second run-up for print and online category.

Jorida Faustin (first run-up from Fadeco community Radio) Vumilia Kondo second run-up (from Aboud Radio) and Dino Mgunda second run up from ( Star TV).

Earlier, BNFB project manager, Dr Hilda Munyua said the competitions were aimed at recognising journalists who have performed better in reporting nutritional foods particularly biofortified crops.

She called on the journalists across the country to keep it up reporting nutritional issues so that good news could reach the farmers and improve their nutrition and health status.



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