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June 24th, 2009
AMES, Iowa - An Iowa State University professor is leading a project that will connect African agricultural experts scattered across North America with representatives in the African continent.
Agronomy Professor and George Washington Carver Chair Andrew Manu is vice president on the board of the newly formed Association of African Agricultural Professionals in Diaspora, or AAAPD. The group will serve as a knowledge resource to advise on agricultural practices and policies in Africa.
"There are many people who grew up in Africa and left for better opportunities," said Manu. "Many of us want to give back because we know we've been given a great gift. AAAPD will coordinate the efforts of so many Africans who want to make an impact not just for their families, but at the community and national level."
The initial project for AAAPD will be to build a Web-based resource to connect African agricultural professionals together. The public database will be available to African agencies and others to locate agricultural experts who understand the agronomic and cultural climate in various regions of Africa when making recommendations.
Once the database and Web site are complete, Manu expects many existing projects in Africa with similar or complementary goals will be linked together because of AAAPD.
Iowa State University received a $234,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the project, which will be implemented by AAAPD.