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Soviets Visit Disney World

October 13, 1987 GMT

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) _ The Soviet Union’s top agricultural official, who is on an eight-day visit to the United States, stopped off at Walt Disney World to tour an exhibit of futuristic growing techniques.

Viktor Nikonov, the Soviet Union’s agriculture secretary, led a 25-member Soviet delegation through the exhibit on Monday at Disney World’s Epcot Center.

His eight-day mission to the United States also includes talks with President Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz and visits to Iowa farms and the Chicago commodities markets.

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U.S. Rep. Kika de la Garza, a Texas Democrat and chairman of the House agricultural commitee, joined the Soviets on their tour through The Land, a sprawling showcase and experimental center for innovative and futuristic growing techniques at Epcot.

Displayed in the undercover exhibit are hydroponic fruits and vegetables grown without soil in solutions that contain needed minerals; an exhibit where plants are thriving in soil that contains the same elements found on the moon; a space exhibit that simulates the environment for plants to grow in space and a display for fighting plant disease that uses insects to fight insects.

Nikonov told Walt Disney World President Dick Nunis that he was ″very impressed with our scientists″ and wished Soviet young people ″could experience what we are doing here.″

Nikonov, 58, will report his findings to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who says that radical reforms, including greater reliance on market forces and improved technology, are needed to boost agricultural production.

Nunis said Nikonov and Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubinin ″suggested″ they would encourage Gorbachev to consider building a Soviet pavilion at Epcot.

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