The 5th Annual Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) Kenya Chapter Awards ceremony was held on Friday 14th October 2022. The award seeks to recognize exemplary journalism that stimulates best practices in the adoption of agricultural technologies, particularly agricultural biotechnology. This year’s theme was the ” Role of innovation for food security and agricultural transformation”.

Speaking during the event, the Executive Director, Eastern Africa Grain Council Mr. Gerald Masila, who was the Chief Guest highlighted the various challenges affecting food production in the country and the need for the country to embrace Agri-biotech innovations. “It is evident that innovation in the agricultural sector is a matter of survival for Kenya and other parts of Africa,” he remarked.

During his address, Mr. Masila acknowledged that there are various concerns about agricultural innovations and the need to have them addressed but emphasized the fact that the problems in production are clear and affecting the country. “While these concerns need to be addressed, we must also acknowledge that we cannot wish away innovation,” he said. He stated the media has a role in ensuring transparent balanced dialogue and that concerns that arise are always addressed with factual information. 

Dr. Martin Mwirigi from Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) who also graced the event emphasized the need for technologies that address the needs of the people. He stated that GMOs are not a farming system but a tool that cannot wipe out our seeds. He explained that there exists a gene bank that preserves our genetic resources. He assured that all the technologies developed are done under controlled environments that follow regulations and guidelines that are put up by regulation bodies such as the National biosafety authority and the directorate of veterinary services. “As a country, we are ready to consume what is being presented,” he said.

In her speech, ISAAA AfriCenter Director Dr. Margaret Karembu, who is also the OFAB-Kenya Chairperson, outlined the great step the Kenyan Government has made in lifting the long-standing ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the country. She stated that this move will help in the quest to address the vicious challenge of food insecurity in our society.

Categories for submission included print and online (newspapers, magazines, and online), radio, and television. During the event, Agatha Ngotho, a journalist for Star Newspaper from Radio Africa was crowned the overall winner while Vincent Anguche, a reporter for Radio Citizen from Royal Media Services, and Victor Muturi, from Radio France International, tied in the first runner-up position. The trio received plaques, certificates of recognition, and cash prizes in acknowledgment of their honors. The winners will now represent Kenya at the OFAB-Africa Media Awards to be held in Abuja, Nigeria in December 2022.

For more on this and other biotech developments in Africa, contact Dr. Margaret Karembu at