Cochran Fellowship Program partners with Kansas State University's Frontier program to train agri-food systems workers from Africa
Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016
Danny Unruh, far left, doctoral student in food science at Kansas State University Olathe, and Justin Kastner, far right, co-director of Kansas State University's Frontier program, stand and welcome a visiting group in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cochran Fellowship program to the K-State Alumni Center on the Manhattan campus. The fellows are learning about global training systems, animal health, plant health and food safety. | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — Something special is brewing for a team of food safety and security experts in the Frontier program at Kansas State University.
As of Aug. 22, the team is hosting six visitors from Malawi, Kenya and Uganda who are sponsored through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cochran Fellowship program.
The Frontier team is providing training on Kansas State University's Manhattan campus and will take the fellows on a field trip to the Port of New Orleans where they will see how coffee and other products are handled for import and export. The group also will meet with food system leaders, scientists and other industry professionals in Kansas City and at Kansas State University Olathe.
Justin Kastner is co-director of the Frontier program, which focuses on border security, food security and trade policy. Training for the Cochran fellows is being led by principal investigators Kastner and Sara Gragg, assistant professor of food science at K-State Olathe. Teaching and logistics support is provided by Danny Unruh, a doctoral student in food science at K-State Olathe; Sarah Jones, senior in food science and industry from Riverton; and Steve Toburen, Frontier field trip coordinator.
Kansas State University's selection to host participants in the Cochran Fellowship Program also shows the university's expertise as a global food systems leader.
Kastner said the training provided is modeled on similar Frontier training programs conducted in 2008 and 2009 with Cochran fellows from Thailand and Egypt.
"We consider it a privilege to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cochran program," Kastner said. "We remain committed to helping other countries build capacity in the important areas of food safety, food security and trade policy development."
The six fellows visiting Manhattan are Charles Mukama, senior veterinary inspector for Uganda's Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries; Betty Namwagala, executive director of the Uganda Coffee Federation; Lucy Ikonya, manager of Trade Affairs for the Kenya Bureau of Standards; Patrick Njeru, an analytical chemist for the Kenya Plant Health Inspection Service; Philis Githaiga, senior inspector for the Kenya Plant Health Inspection Service; and Hastings Ngoma, principal economist for the Malawi Ministry of Agriculture.
The Frontier researchers will provide instruction through Sept. 2, using lectures, workshops and tours related to global training systems, animal health, plant health and food safety. The sessions will cover topics such as international regulations, import-export controls, the World Trade Organization's Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and public public-private partnerships.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service administers the Cochran Fellowship Program. It is U.S.-based and provides agricultural training opportunities for senior and mid-level specialists and administrators. Countries must be classified as middle-income, an emerging democracy or an emerging market to be eligible.