The Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Africa Trade Office and the Prince George's County Economic Development Corp. (PGCEDC) have formed a partnership to promote research on agricultural products in ways that bring jobs to Maryland, assist developing nations in Africa and encourage international trade. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's principal intramural scientific research agency.
The agreement signed today by the ARS Beltsville (Maryland) Area director and the PGCEDC on behalf of the Africa Trade Office is designed to stimulate economic growth by identifying opportunities for Maryland businesses to capitalize on ARS research that addresses Africa's agricultural challenges along with U.S. concerns.
"This agreement brings together the scientific expertise of ARS with skills developed by Prince George's County for developing job growth to address the needs of African nations as they develop and improve on the agricultural products that are so essential to their economies," said Joseph Spence, director of the ARS Beltsville Area.
Previous ARS cooperative agreements have created jobs and business opportunities in Maryland and other states by identifying technologies that improve on a variety of agricultural products and systems. The PGCEDC and the Africa Trade Office have a track record of spurring job growth by helping to initiate and expand business opportunities.
The agreement initially will focus on ongoing research, such as studies on integrated pest management of insects that attack coffee beans, being conducted by ARS researchers that may assist the countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi and Ethiopia. Other countries may be added in the future by mutual agreement.