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Communicating agricultural biotechnology—back to basics

November 23, 2007

This Wednesday, CIMMYT was represented at a Monsanto-sponsored informal media exchange dinner at Nairobi’s Norfolk Hotel for Kenyan and visiting South African journalists. The participants shared their respective experiences, challenges, and opportunities in reporting on developments in agricultural biotechnology over the years. While appreciating that much more needs to be done in Kenya, it emerged that fostering farmer-to-farmer technology transfers; working with agricultural biotechnology experts, and rewarding agricultural science journalists would greatly enhance developments in this area.

Other noteworthy recommendations were devising indigenous, low cost, and home-grown strategies for communicating developments to key end-users—the farmers themselves; likened to the age-old African custom of having discussions “around the fire.” The power of effective communication about innovations in science and technology, including agricultural biotechnology, is crucial to socioeconomic development for food and livelihood security and should be applied effectively in Africa.