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[RIO DE JANEIRO] Brazil and Botswana have agreed to cooperate in agricultural research over the next five years.

The move is the latest in a series of scientific partnerships announced recently between Brazil and African countries.

The new agreement signed this month (18 August) by representatives of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) and Botswana's Ministry of Agriculture will focus on agriculture in extremely dry areas.

One aim is to strengthen the capacity of scientific institutions and their staff to develop new technologies.

The partners will share scientific knowledge and genetic material from local plants and animals.

The collaboration will include research to improve livestock and crop production. It will involve work on plant and animal health, food processing, and the sustainable use of soils and other natural resources.

Sotto Pacheco Costa, supervisor of Embrapa's international cooperation unit told SciDev.Net that it would be the first time that Embrapa has cooperated with Botswana.

The timetable for activities will be drafted during the coming months.

Earlier in August, Brazil unveiled plans to support public-health research in African nations where Portuguese is spoken (see Brazil to boost health research capacity in Angola).

In July, Brazil announced that Ghana would host the first African branch of Embrapa, which will provide technical assistance to local agricultural researchers (see Brazil will share expertise in agriculture with Africa).