ARS, CGIAR Sign Research Agreement
By Jan Suszkiw
October 22, 1999
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22--A formal
agreement signed this week by the Consultative Group on International
Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
broadens the two organizations' collaborative ties in helping secure the
world's food, fiber and other agricultural needs through cooperative research
ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. CGIAR operates an international network of
agricultural research centers.
Under the five-year agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU),
ARS and CGIAR scientists will conduct cooperative research in areas that
include sustainable farming practices, natural resource management, and crop
breeding for traits like greater pest resistance and nutritional content.
"This MOU provides scientists from two powerful research organizations
with a valuable tool to work collaboratively on pressing agricultural
problems," said ARS Administrator Floyd P. Horn.
Horn and Pedro Sanchez, CGIAR Center Directors Committee Chair, signed the
MOU on Tuesday, Oct. 18, during a symposium in Washington, D.C., titled "A
U.S.-International Partnership to Feed the World: the Role of Agricultural
Horn said some of the agreement's key components include cooperative
research endeavors, the exchange of new findings, and exchange programs for
scientists from ARS labs and the 16 international agricultural research centers
affiliated with CGIAR.
At Tuesday's conference, speakers from ARS, CGIAR and other organizations
discussed five main topic areas regarding agriculture's sustainability into the
- Improving the protein content and other nutrients in staple crops like
rice, through biotechnological and other means,
- Promoting agro-forestry techniques on farms to ease the stress placed on
natural ecosystems for timber, firewood, and other raw materials,
- Adapting crops to marginal lands, or regions where they've not
traditionally been cultivated, such as on high-salinity soils,
- Preserving genetic resources, such as those from wild relatives of
cultivated crops, through international exchange programs for germplasm and
technical expertise, and
- Tackling livestock production problems such as inadequate feed, waste
disposal, or animal diseases, through coordinated research on breeding,
genetics, nutrition or farm management.
ARS already is involved in about 30 formal or informal research
collaborations with CGIAR centers, Horn said. One is at the International
Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Columbia.
There, ARS-sponsored researcher Pamela Anderson is helping develop integrated
pest management approaches that can be used to fight white fly infestations
without blanket spraying. The tiny, sap-sucking flies are a global agricultural
menace, Horn noted, attacking some 600 plant species, including many fruit,
vegetable and fiber crops like cotton.
For more information about CGIAR and its programs, visit the organization's
More information on ARS is available at:
Scientific contact: Richard Greene, ARS Office of International
Research Programs, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-4521, fax (301) 504-4528,