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ESAFF-Uganda graduates pioneers of journalists and communicators

ESAFF spent 125 million shillings to facilitate the entire training, including preparing course modules and the grant is to empower journalists to do more stories on agroecology.

Granduads of the 2023 ESAFF Cohort pose for a group photo (Photo/David Anyanzo)

The Eastern and Southern African small scale farmers forum-Uganda (ESAFF) last week graduated 17 students mainly journalists and communicators who enrolled in their first cohort of the year 2023.

These journalists and communicators who were selected from many media houses across the country during the first cohort went through three months which is 12 weeks of intensive training on how to report on agroecology which was fully funded by various donors like agroecology fund, SOS FAIM, thousand currents and ESAFF itself through the agroecology school of journalists and communicators 

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The course coordinator Mr Adem Andrew said that ESAFF Uganda has secured funds to train 1,200 journalists and communicators in Uganda and other east African countries on the issue of reporting on agroecology and will be offering reporting grants to those who will submit the best stories from next month.

“In 2022, we enrolled 20 students in the first cohort and 15 will be enrolled this year 2023. In their official agreement, they are to train 1,200 journalists and communicators in phases on agroecological practices” said Adem.

He pointed out that ESAFF spent 125 million shillings to facilitate the entire training, including preparing course modules and the grant is to empower journalists to do more stories on agroecology.

Hakim Baliraine, the national board chairman of ESAFF emphasized that the purpose of training journalists and communicators on agroecological practices is to bridge the gap between small-scale farmers and consumers on the existing food systems

The National Coordinator Madam Nancy Mugimba lauded all the journalists and communicators who endeavoured to complete the course for their hard work, patience and high level of knowledge on agroecology.  She said that small-scale farmers have a lot of innovation which goes unnoticed or unreported so training these journalists will bridge that gap of info follow to the rest of the world.

The country coordinator for the Islamic food security organisation Mr Sunday George Bob who also works at ministry of agriculture as in charge of food security, senior agricultural officer who also doubles as focal person in ecological agriculture lamented that as being the firstborn of this school all eyes will be on you and respect will be accorded on you too and as a result, once a media understands the importance of agroecology through you, many will like to report about it.

He further requested ESAFF to train at least 50 per cent of journalists and communicators on this course to bridge the gap between small-scale farmers and consumers on the knowledge of agroecology. 

According to the FAO’s 2018 report on food crises, 124 million people in 51 countries or territories face “acute levels” of food insecurity, compared with 108 million in 2016.

Bukar Tijani, FAO’s assistant director general for Africa, said in February that 224 million people are under-nourished in Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent.

Instead, the adoption of “agroecology”, which improves soil quality and costs less for farmers, would help reverse growing food insecurity, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

“We need to put forward sustainable food systems that offer healthy and nutritious food, and also preserve the environment,” FAO director general Jose Graziano da Silva said.

He was speaking at the second International Agroecology Symposium.

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