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Posts tagged: Uganda

Scientists Discover Gene to Combat Devastating Wheat Rust

USDA scientists and their partners have found a molecular tool that will help control wheat stem rust, a fungal disease threatening much of the world’s wheat supply.

First reported in 1999 in Uganda, wheat stem rust–caused by the Ug99 pathogen–is a devastating disease in several countries in Africa and the Middle East where losses can be up to 70 percent. Many experts predict this specific strain could spread rapidly, causing a wheat shortage affecting food security worldwide. Ninety percent of the wheat grown worldwide is susceptible, so if no preventive action is taken, it could cause wheat shortages and affect food security. Read more »

Why Open Data Matters: G-8 and African Nations Increase Open Data for Food Security

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 in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Apr. 30, 2013. The conference launched a new "virtual community" as part of a suite of actions, including the release of new data that the U.S. is taking to give farmers and ranchers, scientists, policy makers and other members of the public easy access to publicly funded data to help increase food security and nutrition. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.

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 »

Wheat Genome Sequenced in Breakthrough for Global Food Security

Researchers in Njoro, Kenya, evaluating wheat for resistance to Ug99 in October 2005.

Researchers in Njoro, Kenya, evaluating wheat for resistance to Ug99 in October 2005.

The Journal Nature today published a paper reporting that scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), as part of an international team, have completed a shotgun sequencing of the wheat genome. The achievement is expected to increase wheat yields, help feed the world and speed up development of wheat varieties with enhanced nutritional value. Wheat is one of the world’s “big three” crops, along with rice and corn, upon which the world’s growing population depends for nutrition.

Sequencing the genome of wheat was unusually daunting because the wheat genome is five times the size of the human genome, and has 94,000 to 96,000 genes.  This sequencing effort involved the identification of essentially all of those genes and mapping their relationship to other genes.  Previously, the size and complexity of the wheat genome had been significant barriers to performing a complete analysis, but the scientists overcame that problem by developing a new strategy that compared wheat genetic sequences to known grass genes, such as from rice and barley. Read more »

Bridging the Gap on Agricultural Research and Development with the Private Sector

Dr. Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics

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 »

Agricultural Science: More Than You Think

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 »

Ugandan Dairy Cooperatives Quadruple Sales and Create Jobs with Help from the Food for Progress Program

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack today announced that USDA will donate more than $145 million in international assistance under the Food for Progress Program in fiscal year 2010. This figure will benefit more than 3.4 million people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East by providing access to new opportunities for farmers and rural communities.

In 2006, Uganda’s Eastern Dairies, a company comprised of 11 local dairy cooperatives, quadrupled its sales in one year with assistance provided by Land O’Lakes, Inc., under USDA’s Food for Progress (FFPr) Program.

Before this FFPr project began, the cooperatives’ more than 500 members—of which 50 percent are women—were suffering from insufficient household incomes and lacked the ability to independently address Uganda’s low milk prices, volatile demand swings and unreliable payments by some buyers. In recognition of these problems, Land O’Lakes submitted an FFPr proposal to provide technical assistance and training to Uganda’s dairy industry to increase its productivity and competitiveness through market development, quality assurance and capacity building activities.

In 2005 USDA accepted the proposal and donated 11,100 tons of U.S. hard red winter wheat to Land O’Lakes. The wheat was sold in Uganda and the funds were used to partly pay for the cooperatives to install a 2,000-liter milk cooler at Eastern Dairies. With guidance from Land O’Lakes, the cooperatives reinvested their profits and member contributions to purchase more assets, upgrade their milk bulking center, and open two new sales outlets, which sell more than 15,000 liters of milk per month. As a result, household incomes have grown by more than 50 percent and Eastern Dairies‘ average monthly profit is more than $3,000. The expansion of the company has created input and service industry jobs and the company itself has grown from one employee to 10 fulltime workers.

The successes achieved at Eastern Dairies have prompted Land O’Lakes to begin working with MADDO Dairies to set up a new milk collection center in Lwagenge, a remote village in Masaka, Uganda, where dairy market accessibility is limited due to poor roads. Last year, MADDO Dairies was expected to install a new milk cooler with a 3,000-liter capacity, benefiting 80 dairy farmers and helping them reduce spillage and spoilage.

Uganda Farmers milk center

Farmers deliver milk to the Eastern Dairies milk collection center. (Photo by Land O'Lakes/Uganda.)


USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service administers the program, authorized by the Food for Progress Act of 1985.  More information is available online at:  http://www.fas.usda.gov/excredits/FoodAid/FFP/foodforprogress.asp

For more information about Land O’Lakes development work, visit http://www.idd.landolakes.com/.