An awards scheme aimed at stimulating the interest of journalists in promoting development journalism and agriculture as business in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone has been launched.
The awards dubbed: “Harmattan Awards for Development Journalists,” also seeks to encourage journalists to develop and renew their interest in development and agribusiness reporting to improve the welfare of smallholder farmers in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The awards scheme is an initiative of Countrywise Communication Ghana, a multimedia organisation working towards promoting agricultural production and rural development. Alhaji Alhassan Issahaku, Northern Regional Coordinating Director, who spoke during the launch of the awards at Nyankpala, near Tamale on Saturday, said the awards would help to promote investment in the agricultural sector to restructure the country’s economy. Alhaji Issahaku touted the potential of agriculture in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone calling for positive media reportage to help improve the welfare of farmers. He said government had initiated a number of policies to help transform agriculture calling on the youth to take into agriculture as business to create wealth. He assured that the Northern Regional Coordinating Council would partner Countrywise Communication Ghana to expand the awards to cover other developmental sectors for accelerated development. Mr Raymond Vuol, Director of Countrywise Communication Ghana said the awards formed part of his organisation’s contribution towards encouraging development reporting by journalists and stimulating public discourse for policy considerations to support the agricultural sector for the benefit of all. Mr Thomas Abanga, Chief Executive Officer of A&G Agro-Mechanical Industries commended Countrywise Communication Ghana for the initiative saying it would help to highlight issues of agriculture for development. The maiden awards ceremony would be held in February, next year, where three journalists whose works will be adjudged as outstanding, will be honoured with various prizes. A&G Agro-Mechanical Industries, an indigenous agribusiness company, is the major sponsor of the awards while other sponsors include; the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savannah Agricultural Research Institute, and AccessAgriculture.