APAARI Successfully Organized a Webinar on Effective Risk Communication Strategies for Agricultural Trade and Food Safety Vishwanath Sah September 6, 2023

APAARI Successfully Organized a Webinar on Effective Risk Communication Strategies for Agricultural Trade and Food Safety

Under the Pesticide Residue Mitigation Project funded by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF PG 634), the Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), organized a highly informative webinar on August 18, 2023.

Active Participation and Valuable Insights:

The workshop attracted a diverse audience of forty-five participants, including representatives from academia and government. Dr Ravi Khetarpal, Executive Secretary, APAARI provided the opening remarks and set the stage by giving a background on project and the highlighting the importance of the risk communication webinar. Dr. David Stone, Associate Dean from Oregon State University actively participated as a key resource person in the below sessions.

Effective Risk Communication Strategies: Dr. Stone’s 35-minute presentation covered key topics related to risk communication, including distinguishing risk from hazard, understanding drivers of risk perception, a risk communication framework, best practices in risk communication, and specialized strategies for pesticide-related risk communication.

Panel Discussion: A panel discussion moderated by Ms Martina Spisiakova from APAARI touched on different stakeholders’ perspective on risk communication related to pesticide management. The panel explored the significant role of risk communication in enhancing agricultural trade and food safety. The panel included the experts listed below:

  • KS Varaprasad (Risk Mitigation Coordinator, APAARI)
  • Jeevani Prasadika Marasinghe (Principal Agriculture Scientist (Toxicology), Office of the Registrar of Pesticides, Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka)
  • Elrita Venter (Founder of Alternafruit SA Nursery Ltd and AgriEdge non-profit company)
  • David Stone (Associate Dean of International Programs at the Oregon State University, USA)

Developing Key Messages: In a concise 20-minute presentation, Dr. Stone shared insights on crafting effective key messages for diverse target audiences. This session covered best practices for science writing, displaying online information, addressing myths, and countering the rise of disinformation.

Positive Outcomes:

Following the presentations, a real-time survey captured the impressions of the participants. They were asked to describe the workshop in a single word, and the responses were overwhelmingly positive. Words such as “informative,” “very informative,” “excellent,” and “relevant” were among the top descriptors. A glimpse of the feedback from the participant collected through the survey is added in the below picture.

Feedback received from webinar participants

Robust Conversation:

The webinar stimulated a robust conversation among the participants. They emphasized the need for further development of risk communication strategies and stressed the importance of discussing pesticide residue and related issues with a wide range of stakeholders, from the general public to policy-makers. The webinar was attended by Dr Dennis Ndolo, Coordinator, Harmonizing regulations and mitigating pesticide residues in the SADC region and Dr Adriana Castaneda, Coordinator, Mitigating Chemical Residues in Latin America through the Promotion of Biopesticides. These three projects complement the activities conducted in Asia and help in sharing knowledge and experience across the region promoting south-south cooperation.

This webinar was a significant step toward advancing effective risk communication in the context of agricultural trade and food safety. It not only provided valuable insights but also highlighted the collective commitment to addressing critical challenges in the field.

For more updates and resources related to risk communication, agricultural trade, and food safety, stay connected with us.

Contact: Dr Sasireka Rajendran, Project Manager, APAARI, s.rajendran@apaari.org