Message from the interim president of the Ugandan National Agricultural Journalists Association (UNAJA), Williams A. Moi

The following address was delivered by Williams A. Moi in a recorded unedited video conference on Tuesday 30th November 2021 in conjunction with the first conference of the Uganda National Agricultural Journalists’ Association (UNAJA), which was held virtually via Zoom.

“Warm greetings to all participants.

“Today Uganda National Agricultural Journalists Association (UNAJA) is holding its first conference, which is taking place in Kampala, the capital city. In regards to the formation of UNAJA, I would like to salute all participants in this meeting for devoting their time to attend it.

‘The reason why we are forming this Association is because there are fewer journalists for agriculture in Uganda than now and most of the organizations formed do not give agriculture a priority. Therefore we are going to give priority to agriculture and specify in reporting good news for agriculture. We are going to do research on what we call agricultural medicinal trees (plants) which grow wild in Uganda yet they are useful in curing diseases such as cough.

“The main purpose of the invitation is to participate in the formation of Uganda National Agricultural Journalist’s Association, recruit members and to forge ahead its development so as to join the 54 IFAJ member states all over the World. We will all work to promote agriculture. UNAJA was founded before the pandemic in 2019 and is toddling with its growth.

‘’Our major objective is to mobilize and train journalists of agriculture with good reporting skills so as to transform our environment through agricultural journalism practice, and also encourage practical agriculture in our home areas. Any journalist without a demonstration agricultural garden is not a journalist.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, we could not hold face to face meetings but zoom of which some of us are new to zoom meetings which needed orientation and technical guide, resourcing, by IFAJ’s Global office.

‘This meeting is now global because it includes participants from places of the world such as USA, Gambia, Canada, Sweden, Kenya and Uganda, etc.

‘’In Uganda now during this era of COVID-19, fruit growing like oranges, papaws, mangoes, guava and bananas among others have soared because they are believed to be the cure of Corona virus when eaten by the communities. Therefore there is need to increase farming and reporting by journalists of agriculture for agriculture. In Uganda still, agriculture is the backbone of the economy where more than 80 percent of the population are peasant farmers. Therefore there is need for increased farming since they depend on crop production.

“The forming of Uganda’s guild has come as a merger between the associations led by Ugandan journalists Moses Ategeka, Christoper Bendana and international freelancer Williams .A.Moi, formerly Chairman of Adigo Agricultural, Rural Journalist’s Association, which was only operating at sub-county level but now advancing nationally.

‘’I cannot talk much on admission to the 54 member guild world-over, but I hope Vice President-International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ), Mr. Steve Werblow will hint on it sooner or later, if it is to be done.’’

The following are some of the factors affecting the promotion of agriculture in Uganda:

– Poor market prices
– cheating of farmers by middle class men
– climate change
– fertile soil or land
– lack of organizations
– inaccurate reporting etc.

I would like to point out the following challenges including budget and activities which would be addressed by sponsors or well wishers to make this formation of UNAJA a success:

-Facilitation, airtime, net time so as to hold the orientation meeting for the first time and subsequent meetings (URGENT)

-Training facilitation for members’ induction or orientation course (FUTUTRE)

-Registration fee at national level (URGENT) i.e. National NGO Bureau-Uganda office-Kampala

-Office equipment’s purchase: Digital camera, TV set, Computers, IPAD, Airtime and internet hire or installation, Furniture.

-Office hiring for coordinating activities-Between 2-5 years pending construction of our own.

-Lobby for grants from well wishers through IFAJ for UNAJA development

-Transport means or hire of motor vehicle—Short and long journeys, purchase of motor vehicles, motor cycle, short distance e.g. bicycle or donation

-Recruit workers, Regional Managers, and salary remuneration (stipend) or facilitation, office manager, install internet recruit more members and maintenance fee.

-Surfing fee, short distance travel within country, insurance, safety measures against communicable diseases such as corona pandemic etc

Thanks be to Mr. Hugh Maynard coordinated that zoom meeting technically but successfully although there was confusion on time zones and internet failure .All the same the meeting proceeded on social media while other members like Christopher Bendana had a chat (interaction) with Mr .Steve Werblow prior to the formation.

I congratulate IFAJ-UNAJA Global office for coordinating this meeting; special thanks go to Steve Werblow-Vice President, Hugh Maynard-Global Manager and Norma Tolhurst-Global Coordinator for making this meeting’s success. God bless IFAJ-UNAJA.

NB: The conference resolved that UNAJA be Registered as National NGO as soon as possible, open a bank account, formalize leadership and kick start its activities. It was adjourned until further notice depending on the lifting fully of the lock down caused by the Corona pandemic.

Thanks until we meet again. Good bye.

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