The US State Department, through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and US Agency for International Development (USAID) at the US Embassy in Bangladesh, organised a virtual media tour, "The Role of Innovative Technologies in Addressing Agricultural Challenges," on Tuesday (8 February).
The aim of the media tour was to discuss science-based reporting on innovative agricultural technologies, including biotechnology, with media professionals and the vast potential of this innovative technology to improve outcomes for farmers, the environment, and consumers, said a press release.
"These new technologies promise to speed up crop development, ensure farmers have access to more sustainable solutions, and give consumers safe, affordable access to food," said US Embassy Agricultural Attaché Megan Francic.
Md Arif Hossain, CEO, and Executive Director of FFB, moderated the virtual tour.
This virtual tour was part of a series of events to be organised in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Farming Future Bangladesh (FFB), a science-based communication and community engagement organization, facilitated.
The tour provided an overview of communication practices in agricultural reporting, as well as the current status and importance of agricultural biotechnology in Bangladesh. Specific topics included genome editing, productivity, biosafety, food safety, consumption and diversified use, and regulatory challenges, the press release added.
Senior journalists from seven print media outlets attended the media tour. Media personnel interacted with speakers and shared their views on the status, prospects, and challenges of agricultural biotechnology.
Participating journalists expressed that agricultural news needs to be data-driven and correctly represent the science, and they noted the importance of the media staying updated with the fast-paced innovations in agriculture at the national and international levels.
In a session titled, "Agricultural Biotechnology Research and Development: impacts, challenges, and opportunities in Bangladesh," Dr Rakha Hari Sarker, Professor, from the department of botany, University of Dhaka and Dr Aparna Islam, a professor at the department of mathematics and natural sciences, Brac University, talked about the significance of advancements in agricultural biotechnology and its potential to mitigate the effects of climate change and address "hidden hunger," or nutrient deficiency.
They also emphasised the role of the media and communication professionals in disseminating evidence-based information.