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FAO and Mississippi State University sign collaboration agreement

10/01/2014 - 

FAO and Mississippi State University (MSU) will step up cooperation on FAO’s new Global Aquaculture Advancement Partnership (GAAP) programme and FAO’s Emergency Preparedness and Response (EMPRES) programme to improve the capacity of developing countries in fish health and aquaculture.

 FAO Deputy Director-General Daniel Gustafson and the President of the Mississippi State University (MSU), Mark Keenum, signed a joint declaration in the presence of FAO’s Director of the Office for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development (OPC), Marcela Villarreal. This joint declaration strenghthens the existing Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two organizations in 2010 and paves the way for cooperation in specific areas.

 Under the terms of the agreement, MSU will become a partner to the Global Aquaculture Advancement Partnership. and contribute resources, expertise, experience and knowledge towards improving food and nutrition security and alleviating poverty through FAO’s  sustainable aquaculture development efforts.

 In addition, MSU will contribute its facilities and expertise in aquatic animal disease diagnostics and management to expand the work of FAO’s Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES), which works to prevent food chain emergencies, promotes the effective containtment and management of the most serious epidemic pests and diseases and food safety threats. MSU will support aquatic animal disease emergencies, in particular towards building emergency preparedness and response capacities of developing countries.

 Speaking at the signing ceremony today Marcela Villarreal highlighted: “Partnerships with Academia have strategic potential in the fight against hunger.  Scientific knowledge is essential to increase agricultural productivity, but that knowledge frequently does not reach the small holders in a useful way.  This partnership, will connect reserach to the real needs on the ground”.

 Delivering a lecture entitled ‘U.S. Land-Grant Universities and the Fight Against World Hunger’, Keenum said ‘It is very important for us at MSU to innovate and share knowledge to improve agriculture sustainability. We are committed to expand our partnership with FAO and  honoured that our Global Center for Aquatic Food Security (GCAFS) is being recognised as a Centre of Knowledge for aquatic animal health’’.  

 Also covered by the agreement are scientific and technical information sharing, intern trainings and seminars on aquatic animal health management and biosecurity. The new partnership includes joint project proposals in the field of aquaculture for food security and for EMPRESaquaculture initiatives as well as joint dissemination of research findings. 

The Mississippi State University team led by its President was composed of Dr. Jerry Gilbert, Dr. David Shaw, Dr. Greg Bohach, Dr. Jon Rezek  and Dr. Mark Lawrence.