WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2005—Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner today welcomed 36 agricultural research scientists and policymakers from eight developing countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America to the United States for training under the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellows Program.
"The cornerstone of this program is the opportunity it provides promising young scientists from developing countries to work closely with agricultural scientists," said Conner. "These fellows are already having a positive effect in developing countries through the cutting-edge research they are enabled to conduct. This is advancing their country’s agricultural sectors, leading to closer collaboration and commercial ties between the United States and their countries."
The 36 Borlaug Fellows from Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Honduras, Morocco, Panama and Serbia–Montenegro will receive at least four-to-six weeks of training at one of the following universities or research centers: Colorado State University, Cornell University, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, Purdue University, Texas A&M University, University of Kentucky, University of Minnesota, University of Texas at Austin or the USDA–Agricultural Research Service Systematic Botany and Mycology Lab in Beltsville, Md. They will learn new research techniques, gain access to fully equipped libraries and learn about public–private research partnerships.
"This program is providing a stepping stone to young scientists who are seeking to learn the latest agricultural research and scientific techniques," said Dr. Norman Borlaug. "The training they are receiving will help these individuals become scientific leaders in their countries, where their expertise will raise agricultural productivity, feed hungry people and stimulate economic growth. I am proud to have my name associated with such an honorable undertaking."
During its first year of operation, the 2004–2005 academic year, the Borlaug Fellowship Program trained 54 Fellows from seven countries, surpassing the original goal of selecting and funding 20 Fellows. The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have provided additional funding this year, enabling USDA to train more Fellows.
Some of the accomplishments achieved from last year's training include: Two Borlaug Fellows from Serbia–Montenegro received competitive grants from their government to work on special technology to breed drought-tolerant varieties of corn.
A Borlaug Fellow from Bulgaria received additional funding from Cornell University to continue collaborative research with his U.S. mentor on isolating the bacterium responsible for crown gall disease, which affects the productivity of grapevines.
Borlaug Fellow from Romania secured a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development to procure U.S. laboratory equipment and establish an extension service at his university where he is helping to train farmers in state-of-the-art embryo transfer technologies.
The Borlaug Fellowship Program helps developing countries strengthen sustainable agricultural practices by providing short-term scientific training and collaborative research opportunities to visiting researchers, policymakers and university faculty while they work with a mentor. The program targets developing countries and places participants at land-grant universities and 1890's colleges, government agencies, international research centers and other nonprofit institutions and private companies.
The Borlaug Fellowship Program was launched in March 2004 in honor of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, who has often been hailed as the father of the Green Revolution. In 1970, Dr. Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize for his success in developing high-yielding wheat varieties and reversing severe food shortages that haunted India and Pakistan in the 1960's. Credited with saving millions of lives, his work virtually eliminated recurring famines in South Asia and helped global food production outpace population growth.
The program is open to participants worldwide, but focuses on African, Asian, Eastern European and Latin American nations. The program is administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service in cooperation with USAID and the U.S. Department of State.
For more information about the Borlaug Fellowship Program, go to http://www.fas.usda.gov/icd/borlaug/borlaug.htm
USDA Release No. 0333.05
FAS PR 0134-05
USDA Contact: Ed Loyd (202) 720-4623
FAS Contact: John Rice (202) 720-9445