THE Media Council of Tanzania together with the Agricultural Non State Actors forum (ANSAF) and BEST AC have introduced a separate category in the annual Journalism Excellence Awards on agriculture and agrobusiness.
ANSAF Executive Director, Mr Audax Rukonge addressing a press conference in Dar es Salaam said that in previous years, agriculture was part of the category under economic and business.
"This year, for the first time, it will be a category on its own targeting journalists who report on agriculture and agrobusiness topics," he said.
Mr Rukonge said that the rationale behind the new category stems from the fact that the majority of Tanzanians in rural areas depended on agriculture for their livelihood and over 85 per cent of the nations' population engaged in agricultural activities.
He said that to stimulate growth and upscaling in the agricultural sector, information on the ease of being a small holder farmer or entrepreneur in rural Tanzania is central. "The agro sector is one of the key engines for generating jobs for youth, though the road to success entrepreneurship knows many hurdles," he said.
Mr Rukonge explained that the category would have three sub categories namely reporting on the rural business enforcement, reporting on rural citizen engagement and reporting in agriculture and agrobusiness.
Mr Hans Determeyer from BEST AC said that the new category aims at engaging journalists to submit their entries that focus on either of the sub categories that would provide them with opportunities to scoop the award.
He said that the category encourages more reporters in rural areas to participate in this year's competition. "Journalists often are no able to cover rural areas for reasons of limited budgets, time constraints and lack of access to relevant contacts. This category will be fully funded by BEST AC and ANSAF," he said.