Football for Good- An Agri-Biotech Awareness Strategy

Over the years, it has been observed that youths pay more attention to recreational activities and entertainment such as football and other sports activities. Sadly, Agriculture in Nigeria have not made the list of interesting recreational activities due to the current hardship and challenges faced by aged farmers in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Government is doing a lot to encourage more youth engagement in Agriculture through promoting it on social media and creating access to funds for those interested. The Young Professional on Agricultural Research and Development (YPARD) and IITA Youths Agripreneurs have carried out many programs that make agriculture cool to youths. However, a majority of the public especially these youths have not fully explored or understood the potentials of improved technologies especially genetic modification technology in agriculture.

As one of her creative awareness strategy, OFAB brought students together through supporting a football match in the university and using the beautiful game to educate them on the potentials of biotechnology. A large crowd of over 200 youths gathered to participate and cheer their team at the Football competition between students of Faculty of Education and Plant Science and Biotechnology, Nassarawa State University Keffi. Prior to this Event, Banners, posters, handbills & sensitization materials were distribute within the university and around Keffi L.G.A

Group picture of students with the OFAB Nigeria team
Group picture of students with the OFAB Nigeria team

During the half time of this event, the OFAB team addressed the students on ways to make farming cool which one of them is through adopting improved technologies. The OFAB Country Coordinator represented by Mr. Alex Abutu in his remarks explained that biotechnology seeks to solve challenges faced by farmers, such as insect and pest manifestation, drought, flood and other climate change issues. Furthermore, he explained the processes used by scientists to produce genetically modified crops and listed the various GM research going on in Nigeria. He, therefore, called on the students who are studying Plant Science and Biotechnology to serve as advocates and champions of the technology as its adoption will open up job opportunities for them when they graduate.

OFAB Nigeria Coordinator, Dr. Rose Gidado advising the students
OFAB Nigeria Coordinator, Dr. Rose Gidado advising the students

The Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Yakubu Boyi Ngwa who was present at the event thanked the OFAB Nigeria Coordinator, Dr. Rose Gidado for her efforts in reaching out to the students. Dr. Rose awarded the winning faculty with Medals and Jersey urging them to keep talking science wherever they go as it shapes our world and has the potentials to bring about food security in Nigeria.

Similarly, Dr.O. Onovo (Head of department Plant Science and Biotechnology) who supported OFAB Nigeria on the awareness and sensitization of GMO’s advised his students to embrace the forthcoming Public Lecture on GMO’s saying it is to their educational benefits. Speaking on his support on GMO’s he included two examination questions on GMO’s to the outgoing 400 level students of Plant Science department.

In general, this event was impactful. Students were empowered with more information on biotechnology research and biosafety activities in Nigeria. Most of them asked questions on how they can be part of OFAB and contribute towards advocating for access to improved technology for farmers in Nigeria. Below is a short skit by the OFAB Youth ambassador, rap artist and public figure (B.O.C) on the benefits of GMO’s.




Since its global inception in September 2006, the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) continues to enhance knowledge-sharing and awareness on agricultural biotechnology in Africa and facilitates quality engagement on safety and benefits of modern agricultural biotechnology among stakeholders.
The forum, which is a collaboration between African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and other like-minded organizations, is implemented at country-level mostly through government bodies forming OFAB chapters serving as OFAB secretariat in these countries.

Currently, OFAB is operational in seven countries namely; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso.

As part of activities marking the 10th anniversary of OFAB,
the Nigerian Chapter is happy to announce the maiden edition of OFAB Nigeria Media Award and Dinner to celebrate and reward outstanding biosciences reporting.

The yearly award which seeks to promote excellence in agricultural biotechnology journalism is open to all print and broadcast journalists who publish/broadcast stories on Biotechnology, Biosafety, Agriculture, Genetics, etc.

The categories and prizes are as follows:
Over-all winners: Plaque, Laptop and $500,
Best Print: Plaque, Tablet and Digital Voice Recorder,
Best TV: Plaque and Camcorder
Best Radio: Plaque, Tablet and Digital Voice Recorder

In addition to the prizes, all winners will be sponsored to participate in the 10th OFAB Anniversary Congress schedule for September 2017 in Kampala, Uganda.

The winning story will be entered for the 2017 AATF/OFAB African Agricultural Biosciences Journalists Award scheduled for September in Nairobi, Kenya.

The award ceremony holds at the August edition of OFAB round table for media scheduled for August 29th, 2017

* The award is open to ALL science journalists in Nigeria, in the broadcast (television, radio, and online) and print media
* The entry should be a story published or aired between July 1st 2016 and June 31st 2017
* Only one entry is allowed per applicant

1. Deadline for submission of entries is July 14 2017
2. Entries for the Print category should consist of a scanned copy of the original story (in PDF format) without any alteration to the content of the story published. Applicants should ensure that their PDF documents are clear and sharp. Entries with blurred documents would not be considered.
3. Online journalists’ entries should include a clearly written and hyperlinked URL address. Screenshots of websites where stories are published are not accepted.
4. TV entries should be uploaded to YouTube (www.youtube.com) and radio pieces to SoundCloud (www.soundcloud.com). Applicants should provide the web links to their uploaded stories in the entry form.
5. Each applicant is expected to provide a synopsis to the story submitted, 150-word biography, and a 200-word piece explaining the motivation for the story on a separate sheet.
6. Any alteration to the original story nullifies the entry.
7. All entries and accompanying documents should be submitted by email to info@ofabnigeria.com or ofabmediaawards@gmail.com

Click here to start this application

For further enquires, please contact the following members of the award committee:
Dr Rose Gidado,
Country Coordinator,
OFAB Nigeria & Assistant Director, NABDA.

Abu Umaru,
Communication and Partnership Officer,
AATF West Africa,

Alex Abutu,
Communication Expert
PBS, Nigeria

Aisha Umar
Communication Officer,
OFAB, Nigeria & Principal Information Officer, NABDA