Washington —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 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, the department said in a press release. These programs are consistent with the goals of the Global Food Security Initiative, which aims to build countries’ capacity to fight hunger and malnutrition.
“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,” Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Rebecca Blue said.
The courses offered by APHIS cover an array of topics, including:
• Risk Analysis for Animal Health.
• Emergency Poultry Disease Response.
• Diagnostic Laboratory Network Systems.
• Veterinary Epidemiology.
• International Transboundary Animal Disease Control.
• Plant Health Systems Analysis.
• Plant Health Pest Risk Assessment.
APHIS’ overseas offices promote participation in the courses, which have been held for the past three summers and have trained 343 foreign agricultural officials. Foreign officials apply to the classes most relevant to their job functions.
For the 2012 series, countries sending participants to the courses include Bangladesh, Chile, Egypt, Haiti, India, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, South Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Uganda and Ukraine. The courses typically last five to 10 days and are held at APHIS’ two regional offices in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Fort Collins, Colorado, as well as the 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,” Blue said. “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.”
For more information about APHIS’ international courses and capacity-building efforts, visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/international_safeguarding/index.shtml.