By Chikondi Manjawira
Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) has emphasized on the need to engage and empower media with relevant information, if the media is to disseminate well packaged information to the general public on issues that matters such as agricultural transformation.
FUM Chief Executive Officer, Prince Kapondamgaga said this during the interface meeting his Union organized for media to appreciate the need of the 2018 Seed Bill in Mangochi on Monday.
Kapondamgaga said it is a commendable step in the right direction that Malawi has embarked on a reform agenda for the agricultural sector in line with the agricultural transformational initiative as espoused in the National Agricultural Policy.
He however added that, the real meaningful transformation in the agricultural sector will take place largely if the country significantly and sustainably invests in raising agricultural productivity. This therefore demands the need to a comprehensive and robust regulatory framework for the sub-sectors of seed and fertilizer to guarantee farmers access to quality improved technology to boost productivity and thereby increase production.
“It is against this background that Farmers Union of Malawi-FUM has partnered with government and other non-state actors (NSAs) including business journalists through the Association of Business Journalists-ABJ to dialogue on the seed bill.
“It is expected that business journalists will play a critical role to contribute to the development as well as dissemination of the Seed Act and other relevant pieces of legislation for public consumption. The media can only adequately play this role only if they have been an integral part of the consultative process and are empowered with relevant information on the same,” said Kapondamgaga.
Commenting on the significance of the interface meeting FUM organized with media, ABJ Secretary General, Taonga Sabola expressed his appreciation towards efforts made by the Union.
“We appreciate the efforts made by FUM to engage the media on such an important legislation. As you are aware the importance of agriculture to the economy of cannot be over emphasized. Often times we have seen bills been crafted with no input from the media but when it comes to communicating the contents to Malawians, they need us.
“It is our hope that various groupings would borrow a leaf from FUM to engage us on such important processes so that we know how best we can communicate with the citizenry, “said Sabola.
Some of the major issues included in the 2018 Seed Bill are the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms-GMO seeds, establishment of National Seed Commission and Variety Release Committee just to mention a few. The bill intends to change some of the context of the existing law of Seed Act of 1996.