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AGRICULTURE REPORT — New Agricultural Organization for Africa - 2003-04-15

Broadcast: April 15, 2003

This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Soon a new organization will be established to help agricultural development in Africa. The African Agricultural Technology Foundation will be set up in Nairobi, Kenya. It will start operations in September, two-thousand-three.

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation is not designed to make a profit. It represents an important kind of organization involved in the worldwide trade of genetically changed crops.

The Rockefeller Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development are involved in the African Agricultural Technology Foundation. Several major agricultural companies also will support the effort. Monsanto, Dupont and Dow Agro Sciences L-L-C are American companies. Syngenta is a Swiss company that will also take part.

The president of the Rockefeller Foundation announced the formation of the A-A-T-F in Washington, D-C in March. Gordon Conway said the organization is an experiment. He said he hopes that the A-A-T-F will work with governments, companies, non-government organizations and research centers. He said it will negotiate between those who own sales rights to agricultural technology and Africans who want to use the technology.

Sales rights are an important issue for companies that develop agricultural technology. Without enforcement of their sales rights, agricultural technology companies could not make a profit from their products which are costly to develop.

Eugene Terry of Sierra Leone will be the director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation. He served as the director general of the West Africa Rice Development Association. He has also advised the World Bank. Mister Terry said in a presentation that one goal of the A-A-T-F is to support laws protecting sales rights. He also said it should help bring new agricultural technologies to market.

Many countries do not have trade agreements with nations that produce products developed through new agricultural technologies. Countries like the United States and Switzerland develop many of the genetically changed crops and the products used with them. Organizations like the A-A-T-F are meant to serve as a link between these industrial nations and developing nations seeking improved agricultural technology.

This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Mario Ritter.