WASHINGTON, July 23, 2012—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is hosting a series of seven courses this summer designed to teach foreign agricultural officials about animal and plant health safeguarding practices in the United States and enhance their ability to develop science-based regulatory systems that effectively prevent the introduction and establishment of harmful pests and diseases. Through APHIS’ courses, foreign regulatory officials are able to come to the United States to learn skills and processes—including disease control strategies, risk analysis and assessment, and laboratory network support—that will enable these countries to have stronger agricultural infrastructures and, potentially, a brighter future in international trade. These programs are consistent with the goals of the Global Food Security Initiative, which aims to build countries’ capacity to fight hunger and malnutrition. The classes will also help to guard against the introduction of pests and disease in the United States, thereby safeguarding the United States’ agricultural economy.
“APHIS has long recognized the importance of partnering with other countries to combat agricultural health issues overseas in order to better protect our nation’s agricultural industries,” said Marketing and Regulatory Program Deputy Under Secretary Rebecca Blue. “These courses will further strengthen APHIS’ partnerships, as well as foreign agricultural officials’ ability to address pest and disease situations in their home countries that threaten agriculture around the globe and limit their ability to engage in trade with the United States and other countries.”
By helping developing countries establish regulatory frameworks based on sound science and formal protocols, APHIS is also helping to facilitate export opportunities for U.S. producers who want to expand their markets to developing nations but lack a clear understanding of those countries’ import procedures. The courses offered by APHIS cover an array of topics, including:
APHIS’ overseas offices promote participation in the courses, which have been held for the past three summers and trained 343 foreign agricultural officials. Foreign officials apply to the classes most relevant to their job functions. This year, countries sending participants to APHIS’ courses include Bangladesh, Chile, Egypt, Haiti, India, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Uganda, Ukraine. The courses typically last five to ten days and are held at APHIS’ two regional offices located in Raleigh, North Carolina and Fort Collins, Colorado, as well as the Agency’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, and at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center off the coast of New York.
“We are thankful to the governments of the participating countries, as well as the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency for contributing funding for these courses,” said Deputy Under Secretary Blue. “As a result of their sponsorship, we can continue forging new partnerships, better address agricultural pests and disease around the world, and strengthen international trade, including exports of U.S. agricultural products abroad.”
For more information about APHIS’ international courses and capacity building efforts, please visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/international_safeguarding/index.shtml.
With Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, APHIS works tirelessly to create and sustain opportunities for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers. Each day, APHIS promotes U.S. agricultural health, regulates genetically engineered organisms, administers the Animal Welfare Act, and carries out wildlife damage management activities, all to safeguard the nation’s $157 billion agriculture, fishing and forestry industries. In the event that a pest or disease of concern is detected, APHIS implements emergency protocols and partners with affected states and other countries to quickly manage or eradicate the outbreak. To promote the health of U.S. agriculture in the international trade arena, APHIS develops and advances science-based standards with trading partners to ensure America’s agricultural exports, valued at more than $137 billion annually, are protected from unjustified restrictions.
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