By: Gayle Andrews
Beijing – Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) wants to play an important role in helping to solve food, water, and academic problems for the world’s most populous nation, China.
President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., plans to forge a partnership that allows China to benefit from the groundbreaking agricultural research on sustainable agriculture and academic strategies developed at FAMU.
“We share the sense of urgency in resolving these issues because of the need to find techniques that grow food faster and on less land, thereby enabling us to feed more people. And we also know that the academic exchange will result in tremendous benefit to both China and FAMU,” Mangum said.
Mangum returned from a four-city visit to China this summer, coordinated by the Historically Black College or University (HBCU)–China Scholarship Network, prepared to explore partnerships that will broaden the FAMU global imprint. Mangum joined other HBCU presidents who visited Beijing, Nanjing, Ningbo, and Shanghai looking for ways to do just that. The benefits of an exchange of students are immeasurable, she says, because of the cultural exposure for all involved. But establishing a leadership role in the process of maintaining a livable world is crucial to solving China’s food and water problems.
The President’s vision is on track with China’s efforts to increase crop yields without leaving soil lifeless or environmentally damaged. FAMU is already finding solutions, according to Mangum. She points to the University’s recent School of Environment Energy Water Food Nexus International Summit. The conference provided an intriguing look into how science is ensuring access to basic human needs with the help of research. Inner-city farms, rooftop gardens, unique filtering processes for dwindling water supplies, and award-winning discoveries that take the research to the global marketplace are all part of the FAMU research repertoire.
China must increase its food crops by 50 percent over the next 20 years. Producing more food without damaging the environment is a serious dilemma Mangum feels FAMU scientists will help resolve.