From left: The G-8 Heads of Delegation Valery Khromchenkov (Russia), Robert Turnock (Canada), Hideaki Chotoku (Japan), Tim Wheeler (United Kingdom), Guillou Marion (France), Martin Koehler (Germany), and Giulio Menato (European Union) listen to Agriculture Under Secretary Research, Education and Economics (REE) Dr. Catherine Woteki (U.S.) announce the action plans developed at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.
Recently, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opened the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture here in Washington. As head of the U.S. Delegation, the Secretary noted that “Data is quickly becoming one of the most important commodities in agriculture,” and encouraged the sharing of data to magnify its power. Hundreds of individuals attended from around the world and thousands more watched the event as it was streamed on the Internet. In this blog, Katherine Townsend, Special Assistant for Engagement at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) gives an example of how open data can improve crop yield and help producers keep more of the income generated by their labor. Read more »
Stara Rescue Center students march to greet Ambassador Godec. The ambassador recently visited the center, located in Africa’s largest urban slum of Kibera, Nairobi, to highlight USDA’s support to the center’s students through the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. (Courtesy Photo)
On Feb. 21, newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec visited the Stara Rescue Center, a school and orphanage located in Africa’s largest urban slum of Kibera, Nairobi. He was there to highlight USDA’s support to the center’s students through the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. The Foreign Agricultural Service program supports education, child development and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education. Read more »
Dr. Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with 70 private sector representatives at the first Feed the Future Public-Private Partnership Technical Forum, hosted jointly by USDA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of State at the White House Conference Center. We discussed potential partnerships to increase agricultural growth in developing countries. Then we rolled up our sleeves got to work aligning investments and connecting individuals and activities. Read more »
As we reflect in celebration of USDA’s 150th anniversary, it’s easy to take pride in the problem-solving abilities of agricultural scientists since 1862.
The challenges in America have been great, including the Dust Bowl, wars, human health threats, and attacks on crops and animals from pests. Researchers have met these challenges and will continue to do so, while enabling growers to produce abundant food that is safe to eat. Read more »
Employees at Hillside Green work in the pack house certifying fresh vegetables for export. Photo credit: Ayub Otieno
In 2009, Eunice Mwongera decided to expand Hillside Green Growers and Exporters Company, her family-owned fruit and vegetable business. A graduate of Nairobi University and former finance officer at the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Mwongera, applied for the USDA Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology (Borlaug) Fellowship Program. Not long after, she was paired with a mentor at Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center for six weeks to learn U.S. best practices in agribusiness development and management. The fellowship was part of a program that provided U.S.-based agribusiness and collaborative research training to African women. Read more »
I recently returned from Nairobi, where I got a firsthand look at USDA’s food aid programs. Due to volcanic ash in Europe, my arrival was delayed by 36 hours. I tried to outmaneuver the cloud by taking the scenic route — Washington to Boston to Amsterdam to Paris to Nairobi. While I enjoyed my multi-airport tour, Mother Nature still got the best of me. She added further insult by holding my luggage in a city other than Nairobi.
During my time in Africa, I gained an appreciation for the excellent results that the World Food Program (WFP) and private voluntary organizations are producing with resources provided by the U.S. food aid programs.
Senator George McGovern and I visited programs that are helping adults and children with HIV and AIDS. While it was heartbreaking to see so many infants, children, and adults with this disease, U.S. Government programs are providing relief and hope to these children and families. Read more »