PR 97/60

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Press Release 97/60

KENYA’S ASSOCIATION OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL JOURNALIST AND DEVELOPING WORLD NEWS AGENCY INTER PRESS SERVICE SHARE FAO’S BOERMA AWARD; MALAYSIAN AND NEW ZEALANDER WIN SEN AWARDS; SAOUMA AWARD GOES TO INSTITUTIONAL WINNERS IN BANGLADESH AND IRAN


ROME, November 6 -- The Association of Food and Agriculture Journalists (AFAJ) in Kenya and Inter Press Service (IPS) have been chosen as joint winners of the FAO Boerma Award for journalism, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today.

FAO also honors two field experts, Hon Tat Tan for 1996 and Les Clark for 1997, with the B. R. Sen Award for their outstanding field work. Hon received the Sen award in recognition of his work with the South Pacific Forestry Development Programme in Fiji. Clark was selected for his achievements in the field of fisheries policy and planning in Namibia.

The Saouma award for institutional excellence went to Department of Fisheries in the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock in Bangladesh and to the Infrastructure and Technical Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture in Iran.

The winners will receive their prizes from FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf on Friday, 7 November at a special awards ceremony at FAO Headquarters in Rome.

All three awards are named for former FAO Director-Generals -- Addeke Hendrik Boerma from the Netherlands, Binay Ranjan Sen from India and Edouard Saouma from Lebanon. The awards are presented during the FAO Conference, the Organization’s governing body, which meets every two years. This year’s session is from 7-18 November.

The Boerma Award was established in 1975 to honor journalists who focus public attention on world food problems, mainly on issues related to agricultural and rural development in the developing world. The award is $10,000 and a scroll.

IPS is an independent association of journalists based in Rome. Since it was founded in 1964, it has become the leading news agency covering development issues. IPS correspondents report from more than 100 countries on topics not always covered by the main-stream media. It focuses such issues as rural living, migration, refugees and the plight of women and children in the third world.

IPS won the award for “its significant contribution over the past thirty years to covering sustainable agriculture and rural development in more than a hundred countries, filling the information gap between the North and South.”

AFAJ is a professional journalists association with 35 members devoted to the coverage of food, agriculture and environmental issues. It launched a campaign in September 1996 to publicize the dangers of water Hyacinth in Lake Victoria. The Association won the award for “strong commitment to the coverage of food, agricultural and environment issues,” particularly its coverage of “the Water Hyacinth Weed multi-media campaign.”

The Sen award, created in 1967, is conferred annually to a field officer who has made an outstanding contribution in the country to which he or she is assigned. It consists of a cash award of $5,000, a scroll and medal.

Hon Tat Tang, a Malaysian national is the 1996 Sen award winner. With almost 30 years of experience in forestry planning and research, Hon Tat Tang won the Sen Award for his efficient and dynamic leadership on the South Pacific Forestry Development Programme, based in Vanuatu.

The 1997 Sen Award winner is Les Clark of New Zealand for his contribution in successfully transforming the Namibian fisheries sector from a largely foreign activity to one of the country’s key sectors fully integrated in the Namibian society and economy.

The Edouard Saouma Award was established in 1993 to recognize institutions that have excelled in the implementation of Technical Cooperation projects. The award consists of a cash prize of $25,000, a medal and a scroll.

Bangladesh’s Department of Fisheries shared this year’s award with the Iranian Agriculture Ministry’s Infrastructure and Technical Directorate. Bangladesh received the award for its implementation of a project that improved rural pond-fish culture extension services throughout the country. The Bangladesh project trained more than 1,500 fisheries officers and extensionists and more than 8,300 farmers. Liaquat Ali, Director-General of the Department of Fisheries will collect the prize.

Iran won the prize for its success in implementing a soil and water preservation project. The prize will be received by the Iranian National Project Director, Darab Malekghasemi.


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