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Cochran and Borlaug Fellowship Program Alumni Gather in Zambia

Following his two weeks of Cochran Program training in North Carolina with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS), Chiluba Mwape was able to develop a pest list for Zambia.  This has enabled the nation to conduct pest risk assessments for several Zambian fruits and vegetables—the only country in southern Africa to be able to do so. Dr. Precious Hamukwale, a professor at the University of Zambia, says her agribusiness training under the Borlaug Program has helped her to assist Zambian businesswomen to better explore their potential.  Mwape and Hamukwale are among 20 Zambian alumni of the USDA’s Cochran and Borlaug Fellowship Programs who spoke about how their training in the United States inspired them to make a difference in fellow citizens’ lives. 

While I was in Zambia for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, these alumni joined me at a luncheon to commemorate the training they received and to celebrate the collaboration between the USDA and the public and private sectors in Africa.

The Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program provides research and training opportunities to agricultural researchers and policymakers.  The USDA partners with U.S. land grant universities, international research centers, and other institutions to provide up to 12 weeks of U.S.-based training.  The program has provided collaborative research opportunities for 190 Fellows in Africa since 2004, six of which were from Zambia.  These individuals have been trained in areas such as agricultural economics, food safety and risk analysis, communication technologies and crop breeding mechanisms.

The Cochran Fellowship Program provides high-quality training to improve local agricultural systems and strengthen and enhance trade links with the United States.  Participants are middle and senior-level professionals from both the public and private sectors who are concerned with agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy, and marketing.  The program has provided training in topics including food safety, biotechnology and animal disease surveillance for 1,330 public and private sector participants from sub-Saharan Africa since 1984.

The USDA believes that institution-to-institution capacity building is an important way to build relationships to strengthen our bilateral ties.  The Cochran and Borlaug Fellowship Programs are two prime examples of how the United States and Africa collaborate on a variety of agricultural activities that help promote two-way trade and food security.

2 Responses to “Cochran and Borlaug Fellowship Program Alumni Gather in Zambia”

  1. John R. says:

    Dear Mr. Secretary and Mr. and Mrs. Barack Obama

    Happy to see all the positive steps the President, The First Lady and the USDA are taking to help improve the quality of life in rural areas, not only here but in Zambia as well. I have a petition that I would like for all of you to take a look at and see if this is something that all of you can find momentum with. Here is the link to the petition I started at;

    As a member of a rural community here in middle Georgia I have some suggestions that your panel might want to take a look at. Enclosed you will find a link to a petition I recently started to help improve the quality of life of low income and poor residents in rural areas. I am trying to get this petition off the ground and I thought your panel would be the best place to go to. Please feel free to contact me if you think that additional input is needed.

    Best regards,
    John R. Hernandez

    Here is the link at

    Below is the widget that helps to get people to sign up but, it may not through this portal. It is a widget that once opened the viewer can the click on it to sign the petition. I was trying to find the email addresses of others in the panel in order to send them copies of this
    note. I didn’t have any luck getting their email addresses.

    Here is the widget:|Start an Online Petition »

    Best Regards again,
    John R. Hernandez
    ps. I have just about under a dozen other petitions in the drawing board that relate to many other issues.

  2. Dr. Richard Mutule Kilonzo, Chief Executive, Export Processing Zones Authority - Kenya says:

    The potential impact of a delayed renewal of the third country fabric provision of AGOA is grave. Third country fabric is the most successful components of the AGOA legislation and can be credited with over 100,000 direct jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Apparel orders are drying up due to the uncertainty surrounding the provision. In Kenya alone, over 40,000 factory workers could very likely lose their jobs if third country fabric is not renewed in a timely manner. The apparel industry in SSA rely on the third country fabric provision; without it there is a very real possibility that the investors in the apparel factories will pack up and move production to some other part of the world as happened in Madagascar following its loss of AGOA eligibility in 2009. This would cause enormous economic strife in countries that are strong partners of the United States. On September 30, 2012, the third country fabric AGOA provision will expire. With barely six months to go, further delay threatens the lives of 1 Million people, mostly women who work in the apparel sector. We estimate that each factory worker supports ten additional people. If third country fabric is not renewed soon, these jobs will disappear and Africa’s poverty rate will sour by over 55%.

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