Bill Targets Minority-Serving Institutions with Agriculture Programs
Minority-serving institutions could get federal funds for agriculture research projects to meet food needs in developing countries under legislation from Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus members.
Historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges all would be eligible for funds under the Biotechnology and Agriculture in the Developing World Act of 2001, sponsored by Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, Eva Clayton, D-N.C., and Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas. Biotechnology can help developing countries build agriculture programs and increase crop yields in hopes of addressing malnutrition.
Under the legislation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would fund partnerships that include an HBCU, Hispanic-serving institution, tribal college or other land-grant institution that offers agriculture or biosciences. Funds would support research and development activities that increase the yield and safety of agricultural products, improve the nutrition content of foods, improve the shelf life of fruits and vegetables or use biotechnology to develop more agricultural products. Projects also could develop vaccines that can be administered through consumption of genetically engineered food products, the bill states.
Introduced as H.R. 2343, the bill authorizes $25 million a year for grants beginning in 2002 and lasting through 2006. The bill was referred to the House Agriculture Committee.
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