AgReach Launch in November 2016
AgReach resides in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). AgReach is administered by the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics. These are the USAID funded projects that have recently been or are being implemented:
- Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services, MEAS (2010-2016, $9.2 M USD).
- Farmer Advisory Services Tajikistan Program, FAST (2013-2015, $5.7 M USD).
- Strengthening Agricultural Extension Services in the Republic of Georgia, SEAS (2013-2016, $2.5 M USD).
- Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension, INGENAES (2014-2018, $7 M USD).
- Strengthening Agriculture and Nutrition Extension services activity in Malawi, SANE (2015-2020, $15 M USD).
UIUC consistently ranks among the top public universities in the nation. UIUC is a land-grant institution with one of the largest and most comprehensive agricultural colleges in the U.S., playing a central leadership role in disciplines related to agriculture, food, environment, consumers, and human and community interests. UIUC is one of the world leaders in the field of bioenergy, sustainable agricultural systems, and agricultural innovation technologies such as biosensors, robotics, and in vitro fertilization. It has top programs in agriculture biotechnology, animal science, genomics, hydrology, landscape and watershed management, climate change, bioengineering, agriculture business management, marketing, and policy.
ACES has had a long history and distinguished track record of institutional capacity building in different parts of the world, including India, China, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Honduras, Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico, and Nepal, among others. With the world population reaching more than 7 billion, future food needs will require enhanced productivity of livestock and crops, greater production from waterlogged and salinized lands, and more productivity from rain fed and dry land areas. Moreover, for those developing countries that are undergoing major changes in economic and social issues, it is equally important that agricultural activities undergo change throughout the value chain, from production to processing to sale and distribution of agricultural products. Equally important to meet this high food production demand is dealing with issues of proper nutrition and human health, food safety and risk assessment, food management and postharvest.
Previously, the Office of International Agriculture implemented the USAID funded International Program for Agricultural Knowledge Systems (INTERPAKS, 1982-1995) as well as the Transformation and Integration of the Provincial Agriculture Network (TIPAN, 1984-1995). A guiding principle, which is being continued through the more recent extension strengthening projects, is the to make knowledge products freely and widely accessible through the groundbreaking INTERPAKS electronic services. The target audience then and today are extension practitioners and researchers engaged in the study of extension organizations and their methods. INTERPAKS was spearheaded by world renown extension specialist Dr. Burton E. Swanson. He was also the founding president of the International Association of Agricultural and Extension Education in 1984 and has written/edited many FAO extension books, plus many other refereed papers and conference presentations until his retirement in 2013.