Governor Tom Vilsack leaves Saturday for a six-day-long trade mission to Africa.Vilsack and a handful of other Iowans will go to South Africa and Nigeria on a trip paid for by the non-profit group “Healthy Harvest”. He says South Africa is the most economically advanced country on the continent and is already doing 29-million dollars of business with Iowa. He says there are hundreds of millions of malnourished people on the continent and he says Healthy Harvest is trying to bring nutritious food supplies to the country.Former U-N Ambassador Andrew Young, representatives of Monsanto, and Iowa State University provost Rollin Richmond will accompany Vilsack on the trip. Richmond says African agriculture has the lowest productivity in the world. He says the country has 30 to 50 percent of its people involved in agriculture, much like Iowa used to be.Some consider Nigeria’s capital to be the most dangerous city in the world, and Vilsack acknowledges special precautions have been made. The Governor will have two state troopers at his side, along with a local security detail. Vilsack says there is always some risk involved with travel, but he says they have professionals looking into the security issue. Vilsack has been in harm’s way before during trade trips. He got caught in the protests at the World Trade meeting in Seattle and was in Taiwan on a trade mission when an earthquake struck.
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