Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo will on Tuesday speak at a one-hour panel discussion on food security at a conference in South Africa.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Negotiations at the US government’s State Department Peter Haas will host Opoku Gakpo and three other agric sector stakeholders to discuss barriers to biotechnology for food security in Africa.
The first Bio Africa Convention is an international event organised by AfricaBio, in partnership with the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of South Africa and Technology Innovation Agency in collaboration with the South African Department of Science and Technology.
The conference is under the theme: Africa – Open for business; together building the bio-economy. The conference provides a platform for South Africa to showcase how bio-based innovations have played a role in transforming its economy through the acceleration of agricultural renewal, biomedical research and industrial development.
Opoku Gakpo will be joined for the panel by Nancy Muchiri, Senior Manager for Communications and Partnerships at the African Agricultural Technology Foundation – Kenya, Motlatjo Makaepea who is Chief Director at the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, South Africa and Motlatsi Mothusi who is an independent farmer in South Africa.
Peter Haas who is moderating the panel discussion is on a 4 day visit to Africa. “The main reason I’m traveling to Africa is to represent the United States at the first ever BIO Africa convention in Durban, South Africa.
“The convention will draw researchers, scientists, businesses, and policymakers from around Africa and beyond… I’m really looking forward to participating in BIO Africa,” he said ahead of his visit.
South African Minister for Science and Technology Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane who opened the conference on Monday says she expects the convention to “strengthen bio-economy policy positions, bio-entrepreneurial culture, and science competitiveness towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Mayor of Durban Cllr Zandile Gumede said, “as the city of Durban, we are proud to once again be part of making history, as we roll out the red carpet for the first BIO Africa convention.”
With a first degree in agricultural biotechnology and a masters’ degree in communication studies, Opoku Gakpo spends a lot of time writing and reporting on challenges that farmers face and how these difficulties can be dealt with.
He is the reigning International Federation of Agricultural Journalists’ best reporter in video journalism for the year 2018, an award he picked up in the Netherlands last month.
Joseph is of the firm conviction that agriculture remains key to help lift Africa out of poverty and that is why prioritises the sector in the stories he tells.
He relies on his academic training in agriculture, and extensive knowledge of the African terrain gained from reporting in Mozambique, Tanzania, Nigeria, and other African countries to tell his stories.
Mobile Telecommunications giant MTN recently named him as a ‘Hero of Change’ for how his stories on the absence of basic amenities in rural farming communities resulted in NGOs providing them with water, light, agribusiness training and other support.