Southern African News Features                                           SANF 11 No 36, December 2011

Zimbabwean journalist honoured in global competition for agricultural reporting

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has awarded six journalists for outstanding reporting on agricultural extension and advisory services in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

A Zimbabwean journalist, Kizito Sikuka, came tops for southern Africa and ultimately for Africa, while scooping third prize in the global competition.

The journalists were selected from each of the six ACP regions (West Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, Pacific and Caribbean).

Kizito Sikuka, a former New Ziana reporter, is now a staff writer for Southern African News Features (SANF), a regional features service offering a reliable source of information and analysis, produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC).

More than 145 entrants took part in the competition, which encouraged journalists and media specialists to investigate the challenges and opportunities in providing extension and advisory services to farmers, showcasing success stories that can be replicated and raising awareness on the important role of agriculture and rural development.

Sikuka was among the top three winners selected from the regional finalists who received their awards at the international conference on “Innovations in Extension and Advisory Services: Linking Knowledge to Policy and Action for Food and Livelihoods” held in Nairobi, Kenya in November.

The full list of the regional winners is as follows:

• Anish Chand (Fiji, Pacific) - Overall Winner

• Patrina Pink (Jamaica, Caribbean) – Second Prize

• Kizito Sikuka (Zimbabwe, Southern Africa) – Third Prize

• Anne Matho Moutsou, (Cameroon, Central Africa)

• Bouréima Sanga, (Burkina Faso, Western Africa)

• James Karuga (Kenya, Eastern Africa).

Alison Saunders, chief judge and managing director of SFa Communications from Barbados, acknowledged the crucial role of the media in raising awareness, understanding and action through educating and empowering farmers with the latest technology and information they need to meet the world’s growing food demands.

“From the entries, it is evident that there are many challenges facing farmers in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific,” Saunders remarked.

“At the same time, it is extremely encouraging to learn about innovations such as the increasing use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) like mobile phones and internet-based solutions to meet the needs of farming communities.”

Another judge, Professor Gervais Mbarga of Moncton University in Canada, added that, “This competition is an excellent initiative. Ultimately, it showcased best practices about the importance of media and communications in promoting agricultural development.”

“The candidates showed talent, creativity and originality in bringing out local experiences and practices around extension and advisory services in ACP countries.”

Speaking on the award, Sikuka, who also holds the 2010 COMESA Media Award for the Best Print Journalist to report on Regional Economic Integration, said it is a clear testimony that SANF is among the best in terms of news coverage.

“I would like to thank management and staff at SARDC for winning the award,” he said, “it shows that we are doing a good job in providing information that informs socio-economic development.”

CTA is a joint international institution of the ACP group of countries and the European Union (EU), based in Brussels, with the mission to advance food and nutritional security, increase prosperity and encourage sound natural resource management in ACP countries.

It provides access to information and knowledge, facilitates policy dialogue and strengthens the capacity of agricultural and rural development institutions and communities. Southern African News Features offers a reliable source of regional information and analysis on the Southern African Development Community, and is provided as a service to the SADC region.

This article may be reproduced with credit to the author and publisher.

SANF is produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), which has monitored regional developments since 1985

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