Virginia Tech program receives grant to improve agriculture in developing countries

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Virginia Tech program receives grant to improve agriculture in developing countries (Image 1)

BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) - Virginia Tech has won a new $18 million grant for a program working to raise the standard of living of people around the world through environmentally sound agricultural practices. 

Officials say the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management, which works with farmers to find sustainable alternatives to pesticides, has been housed at Virginia Tech for the past 21 years.

The U.S. Agency for International Development recently announced that Virginia Tech would once again lead the program, a move that represents a strong vote of confidence in the work that has been ongoing since 1993.

The competitively awarded grant will allow the program to address new and emerging pest problems that plague farmers in the developing world, as well as model and manage the spread of invasive species. 

Scientists will also be investigating ways to preserve biodiversity and offset the agricultural consequences of climate change.

Virginia Tech officials say the projects in eastern Africa will be dedicated to reducing malnutrition through increased production and preservation of staple crops like maize, wheat, and chickpea in Ethiopia; rice and maize in Tanzania; and high-value vegetables in Kenya and Tanzania. 

The program will tackle pest infestations in countries where farmers with limited resources are predicted to be heavily affected by climate change.

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