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International agreement brings VSU land grant model to South African province

Published date: October 7, 2015

Virginia State University (VSU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a South African provincial government agency to share programs and support public services to address poverty and other economic and social issues affecting the 6.79 million citizens in the Eastern Cape.

The agreement between VSU and the Republic of South Africa Eastern Cape Province’s Department of Rural Development & Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) will also enhance economic development through support of small farm agriculture. The agreement follows a visit to VSU earlier in the year, in which a South African delegation sought a model that would address critical extension, research, training and technical assistance needs.

“This agreement serves as a model partnership for the United States and the globe,” said VSU Interim President Dr. Pamela V. Hammond.

According to DRDAR’s Strategic Plan, this agreement will help address a “deteriorating farming infrastructure.”  The document indicates that, given VSU’s experience as a land-grant institution with a successful track record for providing services to Virginia citizens – particularly small farmers – the DRDAR is confident in VSU’s capability in providing technical training in the development of a comparable land-grant model for Eastern Cape province.

The five-year agreement is a partnership that facilitates international faculty and staff exchange, promotes cross-cultural understanding and fosters participation in joint academic and educational ventures.

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