The importance of agriculture in the life of any nation cannot be underrated. Apart from providing food for healthy living, agriculture remains a good source of revenue, when well harnessed. The nexus between the media and agricultural production is a reality considering the primary and secondary roles that the Fourth Estate of the Realm can play by ensuring that opportunities, potentials, and challenges facing farming are brought to the front burner. This position aligns with the reasoning of Nagaratna Biradar and Arun Balamatti (2016) in the publication, ‘Modern Media in Agricultural Communication’ that the purpose of the media is to bring about a positive change among farmers and in farming.
It is on this premise that the National Conference on Agricultural Journalism (NACJ 2023) is apt. Already fixed for Thursday, August 31 to Saturday, September 2, 2023, at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Nigeria, the conference is being organised as a collaborative project, between FarmingFarmersFarms and Prime Progress newspapers; as well as Journalism Communication and Media Centre (JCM Centre); with technical support from the Nigeria Media Innovation Programme (NAMIP), which is implemented by the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF); affiliated to the MacArthur Foundation, United States of America.
To ensure that the conference is of international standards, membership of the National Conference Planning Committee cuts across the media, academia, information communication technology, agriculture, legal and the business sectors while the conference theme, ‘Agricultural Journalism in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects’. The conference would showcase the power of journalism and communication media in promoting food security, youth employment and a safe environment. Specifically, the national conference would improve the knowledge and skills of media practitioners and journalists in modern agriculture reporting, deepen participants’ understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the Nigerian agriculture sector, identify key issues for media advocacy in the sector, develop an action plan to respond to them, and broaden attendees knowledge and coverage of agricultural ecology for a safe and healthy environment.
It is worthy of mention that the event is designed for journalists such as editors, correspondents and reporters from print, electronic and online media, covering agriculture and environment in Nigeria; while experienced resource persons comprise government officials, global media experts, academia, farmers’ network, development partners, lawmakers, and captains of industry, amongst others. To ensure that necessary support and cooperation are deployed to the conference, major stakeholders, whose mandate aligns with the focus of the organisers in the areas of agriculture, environment and solutions journalism, are to be actively engaged. To enrich the 3-day programme, individuals, government and non-governmental organisations that have contributed immensely to agricultural production, climate change action, and food security are to be honoured. No doubt, the conference promises to be impactful hoping that its outcomes would truly strengthen journalism practice, open vistas for accelerated economic growth and national development (The World Bank, Transparency in Government, 2002). FarmingFarmersFarms not only believes in and fully supports this timely conference, it equally acknowledges the immense support offered stakeholders, collaborators and partners in this patriotic quest to transform the fortunes of our nation.