The Sunday News
Chrispen Gumunyu, Business Reporter
SUNDAY News Senior Business Reporter Dumisani Nsingo and Zimpapers Bulawayo Online Editor Stanford Chiwanga came out tops at the inaugural Agriculture Media Awards ceremony held at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) in Harare last Friday.
The awards were organised by ZAS as part of its efforts to promote agriculture news reporting. Nsingo was the best reporter in three categories namely the small ruminants sector, agricultural equipment, mechanisation, irrigation storage and innovation sector and the oil seeds sector. He was also first runner-up in the poultry sector. An elated Nsingo said the accolades were a testimony of the contribution he has made in covering the agriculture beat over the years.
“I have won numerous awards over the years but these ones mean a lot to me because I feel my contribution in this strategic sector is somehow being recognised. I thank God for this wonderful opportunity and of course my family and the Sunday News family because without them I wouldn’t have achieved this feat. This award also means a lot especially to agriculture officials and farmers in Matabeleland region, which is the constituency which I mostly cover,” he said.
Sunday News remains the only mainstream newspaper which has over the years dedicated farming pages with Nsingo being a regular feature. Chiwanga, who scooped the Agriculture Finance and Development sector award said the accolade has motivated him to continue writing good pieces going forward.
“This is my second journalism award and the first in agriculture. I believe I won it because I utilised and applied the knowledge I acquired when I studied Development Studies. I thank the Lord for His blessings and I believe this award will spur me to write more,” he said.
Officiating at the ceremony Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Vangelis Peter Haritatos said the awards are expected to play a pivotal role in the development of the country’s agricultural sector.
“I think the Zimbabwe Agriculture Media Awards will facilitate agricultural information collection and dissemination to our people, thereby encouraging good agricultural practices, agricultural technology adoption and marketing among many other things. This is really a milestone towards agriculture development in the country,” he said.
In her official remarks Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said agriculture was the backbone of the economy, supporting 70 percent of the country’s population and one of the anchor pillars in Government’s vision 2030, that seeks to transform Zimbabwe into an upper middle-class economy thus its importance should not be overlooked.
“A series of recurring droughts have impacted negatively on national crop output but with a reinvigoration of the sector under Government’s Command Agriculture and Presidential Inputs programmes the country can produce sufficient for local use and exports.
“Such efforts require that we focus closely on the agricultural sector, scrutinising its strengths, threats, challenges and opportunities. This role can be ably discharged by our media, which we can take as a partner for the development of the sector,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the media plays an important role in bringing to the attention of the Government areas of concern in the agricultural sector while also disseminating critical information towards developing the sector.