Las Cruces, NM — Seeking to strengthen and formalize a partnership founded in research and extension, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Mexican Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at working collaboratively to address sustainable agriculture and natural resource management.
Coming together on the campus of New Mexico State University, APLU President Peter McPherson joined Mexican Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food José Eduardo Calzada Rovirosa signed the agreement between the North American higher education organization that represents more than 230 public universities and university systems and the Mexican government agency charged with managing agriculture and natural resources.
The APLU-Mexican government MOU seeks to:
“Public universities have both the ability to research and help solve agricultural and natural resources challenges in North America and across the world as well the moral imperative to find ways to ensure the impact of their work is felt as broadly as possible,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “In partnering with the Mexican Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, APLU is further cementing a critical partnership between public universities and a vibrant nation that must work hard to adapt and grow to sustainably meet the needs of its people.”
Secretary Calzada Rovirosa said, “Building options for the youth in the rural sector is one of the highest priorities for the administration of the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, and this instrument will allow us to develop actions to strengthen their capacities and generate options that will contribute those young people to stay and develop their capacities in their communities. Synergies between Mexican institutions and Land Grant Universities of the United States, will expand knowledge transfer, technology and especially the possibility for rural communities to realize their full development potential. Finally, I would like to mention that the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding commits our agricultural universities to build a strong and productive relationship with Public and Land Grant Universities of the United States and to develop actions for the youth in the country side.”
The MOU lays out a series of activities that APLU and the Mexican government will undertake to facilitate research and knowledge transfer, including the joint development research and extension programs focused on family and transitional agriculture; technological innovations, adaptation of agriculture and fisheries to climate change; food safety; mitigation of greenhouse gas; and youth development for future producers. APLU and the Mexican government will work to disseminate findings, including through the convening of joint events with universities and an array of stakeholders.
APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 236 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, including five public research universities in Mexico, APLU’s agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement.
APLU’s North American focus is laid out in its foundational statement, “The Knowledge Zone of Ideas, Progress and Free People,” which provides the overarching and driving purposes for public universities in North America to work together for the region, their countries, and their students and faculty. APLU’s work is focused on expanding and enriching research in energy, food, water, environment, health, economic development, and much more.
One issue that APLU and Mexico are expected to continue working closely on is sustainably addressing the world’s growing food needs. Drawing on the unique academic, research and leadership capabilities of land-grant and public research universities, APLU earlier this year launched The Challenge of Change: Engaging Public Universities to Feed the World to address growing domestic and global food security challenges. Public research universities are the largest resource of food security research resources and intellectual capacity in the world. With the world population expected to grow to more than 9 billion by 2050, the commission, which includes representatives from Mexican institutions, is working to ensure public research universities are front in center in helping to ensure the three pillars of food security – access, availability and utilization – are met throughout the world.