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USDA Official Travels to Pakistan to Participate In U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral and U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue

    WASHINGTON, June 15, 2010 – USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services’ Deputy Under Secretary Darci Vetter will travel to Islamabad, Pakistan, June 14-15 to strengthen relations and coordinate projects to modernize Pakistani and Afghan agriculture.

    On June 14, Vetter participated in the Afghanistan-Pakistan-U.S. Agricultural Trilateral Secretariat meeting. The secretariat coordinates the efforts of three working groups focused on increasing food security, developing agricultural trade corridors, and improving water management and watershed rehabilitation. The working groups identified key objectives and developed plans to address those objectives last January in Doha, Qatar. The purpose of the June 14th meeting is to report on progress to date and press for program designs and implementation.

    Along with Vetter, Afghanistan was represented by Ghani Ghuriani, deputy minister, Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, and Pakistan was represented by Malik Zahoor Ahmad, director general, Pakistan National Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

    On June 15, Vetter will co-chair the U.S. delegation to the agriculture working group of the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue along with James Bever, director of the Afghanistan and Pakistan Task Force for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Pakistan’s chairman is Secretary Tauqir Ahmad Faiq of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

    The agriculture working group met in March and agreed to a multiyear program aimed at modernizing Pakistan’s agricultural sector. Projects underway include developing cold chain facilities in southwest Pakistan, and technical exchanges to strengthen Pakistan’s ability to combat plant and animal diseases such as wheat rust and foot and mouth disease.



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