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Media hailed for reporting agriculture issues

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The Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development says it recognises the importance of capacitating journalists and reporters on the elements of ethical journalism and standards in the country.

Director of Administration in the ministry, McCallum Sibande, said this on Monday during official opening ceremony of a workshop aimed to equip journalists on ethics in agriculture reporting held in Salima District.

Sibande said that there is need to provide platforms and systems to interface with media and exchange information and ideas to improve the quality of reporting in the sector.

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“This is why we have made an effort to continue our initiative to engage with you, our partners in the media, to enhance your capacity in reporting agricultural issues in a professional way,’’ he said.

He added that with the common understanding of what ethical and objective media reporting is all about, area of differences can always be resolved amicably in a professional manner.

Sibande further said that the training would ably equip and build the necessary relationships and platforms to collaborate when reporting on issues that affect the agriculture sector.

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He stressed that over the years, Malawi has made some progress in encouraging media coverage of a wide range of issues of agriculture.

“The media is able to disseminate vital messages that enabled various stakeholders to act on time in reporting matters of emergency like El Nino, armyworm outbreak and flooding situations that the country has been experiencing,’’ he said.

Speaking in an interview, New Alliance Policy Acceleration Support (Napas) Senior Programme Manager, Arthur Mabiso, said that there has been a lot of improvement by the media in disseminating information on agriculture issues.

Mabiso explained that this year the media has been very instrumental in disseminating information on issues around minimum farm gate prices in the country.

“The farmers responded well to the information although in some cases, farmers were receiving relatively low prices on their produce but the media continued with the issue and raised an alarm with facts based information’’, he said.

The training has drawn journalists from 25 media houses and is being supported by USAID in conjunction with Napas and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.

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