Researcher and Borlaug Fellow Issah Sugri (right) working with peanut farmers in Ghana to address aflatoxin issues. Photo credit: courtesy of Issah Sugri
Issah Sugri of Ghana is helping his nation feed itself and improve its farmers’ efficiency thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program. The Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program, funded by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), is a six to 12 week training program that pairs up-and-coming researchers from selected countries with mentors from a U.S. land-grant institution or government agency. Sugri, one of 36 FAS Borlaug Fellows in 2012, was assigned to the University of Florida with the specific goal of reducing post-harvest losses of tomatoes by better understanding climate-relevant, low-tech methods of extending shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables.
When he returned to Ghana, Sugri put his fellowship training to immediate use. Collaborating with fellow researchers at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), based in Bawku, Ghana, he published fact sheets for local farmers describing optimal harvest and storage conditions. Sugri even included his mobile phone number so he could accept field questions and provide clarification. He also worked with extension agents to train producers on post-harvest loss avoidance techniques and their economic benefits. At Sugri’s urging, SARI hired a dedicated food scientist to focus additional research on the topic. Read more »
U.S. Forest Service assistance on beehive construction and honey production can conserve tree cover while providing alternative sources of income and food for local households. (Photo credit Mr. Richard Adupong)
All over the world, deforestation and forest degradation are under the microscope because together they comprise the second greatest driver of climate change. If you focus on the country of Ghana, you’ll find one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa.
In fact, the country has lost nearly 90 percent of its original forests. The losses are due to a variety of factors including wood extraction and agricultural expansion. The remaining forests are home to forest elephants, Diana monkeys and many types of rare, endemic amphibians—and many rural communities that often struggle to support their families. Read more »
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Harden visits with women in agriculture around the world including this photo from her trade mission in Ghana in November 2015.
As a daughter of farmers, and as someone who has spent her career working on behalf of farmers, one of the things I care most deeply about is the future of agriculture – both in the United States and around the world. That is why one of my highest priorities at USDA has been to help develop the next generation of farmers, ensuring that women, young people, and others have access to the programs and support they need to farm successfully.
As Deputy Secretary, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Africa, Central and South America. I’ve met many inspirational farmers from around the world, and while the languages we speak, the crops we grow, and the production methods we use may differ, one thing rings true in every conversation: we share the same passions and the same challenges in feeding a growing world population. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack moderated a roundtable discussion on “Sharing Agricultural Knowledge to Drive Sustainable Growth” at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 13. Seated from left to right are Secretary Tom Vilsack, Ghanaian Agriculture Minister Kwesi Ahwoi, Tanzanian Agriculture Minister Jumanne Maghembe, Mozambican Agriculture Minister José Pacheco, and Director General-elect of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations José Graziano da Silva. Credit: World Food Prize/Jim Heemstra
Last week, 40 Borlaug Fellows from 21 countries as far away as Azerbaijan and Zambia were in Des Moines, Iowa, to attend the Borlaug International Symposium and World Food Prize ceremony. Accompanying them were 16 mentors—professors, scientists, and researchers—from U.S. land-grant universities and international research centers, as well as public, private, and non-profit organizations. These Fellows and their mentors are part of the Norman E. Borlaug Agricultural Science and Technology Fellows Program established by USDA in 2004 to honor Nobel Laureate Norman E. Borlaug. Read more »