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USDA Official Visits Honduras To Recognize Regional Food Security and Biotechnology Successes

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2010 – USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Administrator John Brewer will be in Honduras June 28-30 to recognize Honduras’ leadership role in implementing biotechnology and addressing food security in Central America. Brewer will meet with Honduran government officials and representatives of the Honduran Biotechnology and Biosafety Commission, in addition to local non-governmental organizations, food associations, and farmers.

"Honduras and the United States have an important partnership on many levels. Since 2006, the Central American Free Trade Agreement has expanded market access both ways and ensures a climate of openness and stability, with two-way trade up approximately 30 percent in 2009 despite the global economic crisis," said Brewer. "Our partnership and shared goals extend beyond trade; I commend President Lobo’s government on their forward-thinking biotechnology implementation and firm commitment to providing food security."

To highlight Honduran leadership in biotechnology and its potential application to other countries, Brewer will inaugurate the "Biotechnology and Food Security" conference. USDA and nine other public and private Honduran institutions will discuss potential ecological, economic, and environmental benefits of biotechnology in securing the food supply. Representatives from neighboring countries will be in attendance to learn about Honduras’ progress. Biotechnology expert Dr. Wayne Parrott, Professor of Crop Science and Soil at the University of Georgia, will also speak at the conference.

Brewer will brief the Honduran media about a 2010 Food for Progress grant to FINCA International, Inc., which will benefit over 70,000 Hondurans in three years by offering specialized agricultural loans for farmers to buy equipment, undergo training, and improve technology and production capacities. The Food for Progress program donates agricultural commodities to organizations such as FINCA, which monetize the donations and invest in long-term projects.

Brewer will visit a 2006 Food for Progress project in Jutiapa, which provided local farmers in four communities with advanced technology and planting methods, helped them organize a trust fund, and connected them to credit suppliers, supermarket distribution chains, and private companies providing up-to-date market analysis and information. To learn more about Food for Progress, visit http://www.fas.usda.gov/excredits/FoodAid/FFP/foodforprogress.asp.

 

Blog posts from Brewer’s trip to Honduras will be at http://www.usda.gov.

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