As summer break winds down, children around the world prepare for a new school year. But for some children, going to school is more than making new friends and learning new subjects; it’s an opportunity to eat a full, nutritious meal.
The Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program helps provide these meals to children in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education. The program aligns with President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative and has helped feed millions of children over the years. One example of the success of this program can be found in the Republic of Congo, where the undernourishment rate of children is estimated at nearly 35 percent of the population.
Since 2001, FAS has implemented four McGovern-Dole Programs in Congo through the non-profit organization, International Partnership for Human Development (IPHD). During this time, IPHD distributed about 30,000 metric tons of U.S.-donated foods (rice, beans, potato flakes and vegetable oil) to nearly 150,000 pre-school and primary school-age Congolese children. IPHD also supported school infrastructure, parent-teacher associations and children’s health needs. Read more »
Forestry and Agricultural Investment Management (FAIM) workers in Rwanda check the condition of virus-free banana plant seedlings. FAIM uses the latest scientific research and techniques to produce healthy starter plants for Rwandan farmers to help boost their farm production, incomes and local food supply. The company hopes to expand its effort to other African countries. Photo courtesy of FAIM.CO
Entrepreneur and horticulturalist Steve Jones was on a Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) agricultural trade mission (ATM) to Madagascar in 2006 when he first began thinking about how modern plant propagation techniques might help struggling East African farmers boost their productivity and prosperity. Read more »
With a single phone call or e-mail, exporters can now reach FAS personnel who can provide information on export certification, registration, and documentation requirements.
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is helping U.S. agricultural exporters navigate the complexities of the global trading system with its new trade facilitation desk. The FAS trade facilitation desk is just one example of how FAS is streamlining and improving its services to exporters as part of the USDA-wide Blueprint for Stronger Service initiative. The Blueprint is helping USDA modernize and accelerate service delivery while improving the customer experience through use of innovative technologies and business solutions, like the trade facilitation desk.
With a single phone call or e-mail, exporters can now reach FAS personnel who can provide information on export certification, registration, and documentation requirements. The trade facilitation desk also provides troubleshooting support if an exporter runs into issues with a shipment being detained or refused at its destination. Read more »
Trevor Nichols (left), Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Agricultural Bioscience CABI-Plantwise and Dr. Catherine Woteki (right), Undersecretary, Research Education and Economics signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make the United States Department of Agriculture’s research and genetic information accessible to “plant doctors” working to prevent disease and pests in developing countries at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, February 7, 2012.
As USDA celebrates 150 years of serving American agriculture and rural communities, it is important to remember the enormous contribution of the Cooperative Extension Service, a three-way partnership between USDA and our state and county partners that forms a nationwide network of expertise. These experts work with Americans on issues that relate to a wide range of topics including: agriculture, natural resource management, nutrition, youth development, community empowerment, household and family budgeting, and disaster assistance, among others. Read more »
Tim Montz (right) of the Montz Pecan Company speaks with members of the Chinese media while displaying his Texas-grown products at the USDA-supported SIAL China food trade show in 2009. Participation in USDA events and export assistance from the Foreign Agricultural Service has helped international sales of Montz pecans thrive in recent years. Photo by Cindy Wise of the Texas Pecan Growers Association
In 2009 when Tim Montz first traveled to Shanghai, China, representing the Texas pecan industry, Montz had to explain what pecans were. Two years later, promoting pecans to China and other countries is “business as usual” for the father-and-son team of Tim and Jake Montz of the Montz Pecan Company. Read more »
Mahogany seeds, one of the species the Dominican Republic is trying to reforest. (Photo courtesy of Toby Bloom, U.S. Forest Service)
Everyone wants to have a full bank account — including bank accounts that hold seeds.
The U.S. Forest Service recently held a workshop with the Dominican Republic Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources in Dry Branch, Ga., focusing on ways to increase the capacity to develop and maintain a seed bank for reforestation in the Dominican Republic.
The workshop discussed methods and approaches to compiling the seeds and best practices for preservation. The workshop included seed biology and procedures that contribute towards the success of the bank. Dry Branch is the home of the USFS National Seed Laboratory. Participants of the workshop will manage the Nigua Seed Bank in the Dominican Republic. Official protocols for seed purity throughout the Dominican Republic were drafted for the new seed bank based on workshop outcomes.
Technical expertise was provided by the Forest Service with the help of an agreement with the US Agency for International Development. Through the agreement, the Forest Service aids in equipment administration as well as the training of staff and facility management.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Dominican Republic enacted the Forestry Action Plan in 1991 that established the goal of becoming a self-sufficient timber and fuelwood producer by 2016. The seed laboratory work will contribute to the achievement of this goal and the forestry improvements that the nation plans to make towards reforestation.
In November, an unprecedented Presidential Decree was passed to solidify the Government’s commitment to biological diversity and protected area habitat conservation. The seed bank workshop contributed to these goals.
For more information on these and other projects, take a look at the U.S. Forest Service International Programs website.