Of the 767 million goats in the world, less than 0.2% reside in the United States while over 90% can be found in countries of Asia and Africa. Therefore, the American Institute for Goat Research has developed and maintains many strong ties with research and academic institutions around the world and has hosted visiting scientists from over 25 foreign countries for conduct of research. The Institute has expanded its international activities with foreign institutions to include more aspects of training and agricultural development. These activities give the Institute unique opportunities to not only increase knowledge of other production systems and constraints, but also to positively impact agricultural development in foreign countries and help alleviate poverty and hunger.
The E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research has as its mission to develop and transfer enhanced goat production technologies at local, state, national, and international levels. General objectives of the Institute’s international program are to:
- increase our knowledge of goat production systems worldwide and current constraints to increased production
- build human capacity through training foreign scientists and agricultural workers in goat production thereby allowing them to more effectively carry out their missions of teaching, research and extension
- increase Langston University and the Institute’s involvement in agricultural development and impact on human welfare
- enhance the Institute’s knowledge of development and development issues
Recent international projects involved capacity building at universities in Kenya and Malawi and developing capabilities for on-farm research in many countries. An earlier major international project was the Ethiopia Sheep and Goat Productivity Improvement Program, a USAID/Ethiopia-funded broad-based development program that Langston University conducted with Prairie View A&M University in Texas. Other international projects were research-oriented and included collaboration with institutes in Egypt and Israel. The Institute also worked with universities in China, Mexico, Jordan, Rwanda and the Ivory Coast to translate the on-line nutrient calculator and simulation program into Chinese, Spanish, Arabic and French to broaden the usage of these valuable web-based programs. The Institute's Middle East Regional Cooperation Grant that worked with various Middle Eastern research organizations ended in 2009. Other projects included assisting the USDA Marketing Assistance Project in Armenia as well as a number of grants with Ethiopian universities. In addition to international grants, the American Institute for Goat Research continues to conduct training programs for researchers and students receiving training at the Institute have been from many countries around the world, including the Middle East (e.g., Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Iraq), Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Sudan, Morocco, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zimbabwe), The Americas (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Canada, Colombia), Asia (China, Japan, India, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Mongolia), Australia, New Zealand, and Europe (Sweden, France, Poland, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria). A full report on AIGR's international activities appears in each year's Field Day proceedings found in the Library section.
The End Result
Participation in international activities provides the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research with many unique opportunities. Not only do its scientists learn about goat production and constraints in foreign countries, but information generated through research conducted by visiting scientists can be used to increase goat production both here and abroad. Institute staff are able to learn about foreign cultures and customs, increasing their cultural awareness and better allowing them to perform their work. Collaborating foreign institutions benefit from the training received and from the resources made available to them for research and extension. Most importantly, through our international partnerships and the associated research, training, and development activities, the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research plays a role in improving the lives of people in developing countries. The knowledge that through the efforts of Institute staff and the support of its clientele some village parents in lesser developed countries of the world are better able to provide for their children is a source of pride for Langston University and the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research.