Virginia Tech wins $34 million in USAID ag grants

BLACKSBURG, Virginia, October 11, 2004 (ENS): Virginia Tech’s Office of International Research, Education, and Development has received two grants totaling $34 million over five years from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade Program.

The work will enhance food security while limiting negative impacts on natural resources through sustainable agricultural programs in developing countries, said President Charles Steger.

Virginia Tech will be the lead university and the Management Entity for agricultural research and assistance programs designed to improve crop yields through ecologically sound practices for people in developing nations around the world.

Of the $34 million, $5 million for each of the two projects will be garnered from the USAID missions around the world.

The USAID uses U.S. land grant universities to promote its development assistance through the mechanism of Collaborative Research Support Programs (CRSPs). There are nine CRSPs, each with a distinct mission.

Virginia Tech is now the only university managing two CRSP projects. One $17 million grant provides for Phase III in USAID’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP), continuing the university's management of the previous two phases.

In Phase III, grants will be offered for new IPM activities in regional as well as global pest management programs.

The second $17 million award makes Virginia Tech the lead institution and the Management Entity in the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program (SANREM CRSP), which was formerly managed by another land-grant university with Virginia Tech as a sub grantee for the West Africa program.

These ecologically based programs help people in developing countries worldwide implement the latest knowledge to manage natural resources and agriculture with the fewest negative impacts, emphasizing ecologically based management of pests and land use methods to enhance productivity, food security, and preservation and enhancement of natural resources.

"Research results will benefit the countries involved through increased farm income, reduced pesticide use, greater involvement of women in Integrated Pest Management and natural resource management decision-making, and increased sustainable agriculture and natural resource management research and education," said S.K. De Datta, associate provost for international affairs and director of the Office of International Research, Education, and Development at Virginia Tech.

"Virginia and the United States will benefit through reduced pesticide residues on imported fruits and vegetables, expanded demand for our export products as incomes grow in developing countries, and reduced threats from invasive species," De Datta said.

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