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TITLE:  USDA launches biotech research project for Sub-saharan
SOURCE: USDA Press Release
DATE:   July 27, 1999

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USDA launches biotech research project for Sub-saharan Africa

WASHINGTON - As part of the Clinton Administration's Partnership
for Growth and Opportunity for Africa, Agriculture Secretary Dan
Glickman today launched an innovative scientific exchange program
to enhance crop biotechnology research in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This start-up project will help reduce hunger, speed scientific
progress, and help bring the benefits of biotechnology to small
scale farmers throughout Africa and the United States. The
project will utilize the resources of America's 1890 colleges and
universities, one of the parties to the agreement. The
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in
Texcoco, Mexico, also agreed to this new international
biotechnology partnership.

"The scientific and technical exchanges planned for this project
will benefit both the United States and Africa," Glickman said.
"By sharing our knowledge, we will speed research discoveries and
improve Africa's food security and agricultural production.
Agriculture accounts for two-thirds of the jobs and a third of
all economic activity in Africa. And by helping develop African
agriculture, we also gain insights that help us support our own
farmers as well."

USDA will provide $100,000 in start-up funds for the project,
begun in response to requests from 1890s universities for support
of their research efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa. Tuskegee
University, located in Tuskegee, Ala., leads the 1890s
universities' efforts, as it has established research ties with
the African National Agricultural Research Service in Kenya,
Ghana, and Senegal. Oscar Prater, chairman of the Council of 1890
Presidents and Chancellors, signed the memorandum on behalf of
all the 1890s institutions.

"The combined skills of ARS, CIMMYT, the 1890s universities, and
the African institutions bring a critical mass of scientists who
will provide unique solutions to problems associated with
agricultural production in Africa,' said Glickman. "Biotechnology
is one of the most important tools we have to help us generate
higher yields without straining our natural resources and to
fight hunger and malnutrition in Africa."

Following a needs assessment, the project will provide
biotechnology training for both African scientists and 1890s
faculty at USDA laboratories or at CIMMYT. Cooperative research
projects may be established to develop corn and wheat varieties
that mature faster, grow well with fewer chemicals, and have
enhanced nutrients. Part of this project will be promoting an
awareness of the benefits of biotechnology for developing nations
and ensuring the crops produced this way are healthy and safe. 

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