Introduction to the Lusaka Workshop for the Monitor Web

Between 30 September - 4 October, the Biotechnology and Development Monitor together with its partners the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) network, Zimbabwe and the Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI), Zambia ran a highly successful workshop on the theme Agrobiotechnology and Food Security at the University of Zambia. The Workshop was opened by Dr Jacob Mwanza, Chancellor of the University and was attended by representatives from research, government and civil society organisations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, the Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The workshop's primary objective was to bring regional and local scientists and agricultural specialists together in a learning dialogue with journalists, broadcasters and representatives of the information services in the SADC region. Between 55 and 65 attended the 5-day meeting which included field visits, a public meeting, media workshops and a specially organised media resource centre.

The workshop was hands on and interactive. A comparative approach to issues such as genetic erosion, the development of needs-related biotechnology research agendas, and the biosafety issues that accompanied the rapid intrusion of GM crops and products into the SADC region provided copy for journalists and broadcasters. Articles and interviews made during the workshop have been published and broadcast. CTA will be publishing a Rural Radio Resource Package based on Workshop material in French and English in February 2003.

The Workshop was funded by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA), NOVIB Oxfam and KEPA (Finnish Development Aid). A workshop report is available on the Monitor Web site and includes abstracts of all 22 papers presented and reports of the media panels and surveys. Monitor 51, to be published in January 2003 will be based on the workshop theme. Full text versions of the Workshop papers are available on request from the authors (see e-addresses in the participation list attached to the report).