Vilsack Meets with Afghan and Pakistani Ministers of Ag

Published online: Oct 13, 2010 USDA Newsletter
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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Visits Des Moines for World Food Prize and Trilateral Meetings with Afghan and Pakistani Ministers of Agriculture. The World Food Prize is one of the world's foremost international dialogues on food security. WASHINGTON, D.C.- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off his participation in the World Food Prize events in Des Moines, Iowa, by visiting a corn and soybean farm with Pakistani Agriculture Minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal and Afghan Agriculture Minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi. Secretary Vilsack invited Ministers Gondal and Rahimi to be his guests in Des Moines where they will continue to discuss their shared vision for building vibrant agricultural economies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "Dr. Norman Borlaug, the founder of the World Food Prize, challenged us all to eradicate global hunger and share the knowledge and skills necessary to end famine," said Vilsack. "The United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan are working together to meet Dr. Borlaug's challenge, and I am grateful to Minister Rahimi and Minister Gondal for traveling to Iowa to conduct these important trilateral U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan talks on agriculture and food security." "This is a valuable opportunity for specific, open and forthright discussions on the immediate and future food needs of Afghans and Pakistanis-efforts that will not only improve stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the entire region, but also strengthen security here in the United States." During their farm tour, Secretary Vilsack and the Ministers participated in a discussion with faculty from Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences about the important role U.S. land-grant universities play in linking extension services to farmers -- a fundamental piece of American agriculture that is missing in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The 2010 conference was entitled, "Take It to the Farmer: Reaching the World's Smallholder."