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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 30, 1997



Vice President Al Gore today announced that the Agriculture Committee of the U.S.-South Africa Binational Commission has worked effectively to ensure that newly enfranchised, small-holders in South Africa's rural communities have new opportunities to improve their economic well-being.

Since the last meeting of the Binational Commission, the Agriculture Committee intends to donate U.S. agricultural commodities to South Africa through the Food for Progress program; train 30 South Africans through the Cochran Fellowship Program, which is in its third consecutive year in South Africa; form a fifth Agriculture Committee working group on school feeding and nutrition programs; expand cooperative rural banks in South Africa's Northwest Province; provide advanced research fellowship training at U.S. universities to South African scientists; and develop biotechnologies to support small-scale farming enterprises.

The Vice President made the announcement following the fourth full session of the U.S.-South Africa Binational Commission held in Washington, DC that he co-chairs with South African Executive Deputy President Thabo Mbeki.

"The efforts of the Agriculture Committee have successfully led to the opening of market opportunities between our two countries in several relatively new areas of trade," said Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, who is co-chair of the Agriculture Committee along with South African Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs Derek Andre Hanekom. "Although our committee was formed less than 2 years ago, we have negotiated increased access for U.S. poultry and red meat to South Africa and for South African fresh fruits and cut flowers to the United States. Taken together, trade in these products increased by 278 percent between January through April 1997 compared to the same period in 1996."

This fall, the Committee will send a delegation of 16 South African and U.S. representatives to and will hold the largest floral display of South African plants in North America between October 17- November 10, at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC, to encourage U.S. commercial interests and highlight the U.S. Department of Agriculture's collaborative research activities with South Africa.