Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA is investing more than $8.5 million to help six organizations develop improved food aid products under the Micronutrient-Fortified Food Aid Products Pilot Program. This program is funded by the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition (McGovern-Dole) Program, and recipients will focus their efforts over the next three years in Cambodia, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Mozambique and Tanzania.
"These grants will fund the development of new food aid products that are tailored to the nutritional needs of a specific population," said Vilsack. "Our efforts to support global food security are important to the many people around the world who do not have access to nutritious and safe food. Fresh approaches to food assistance are also critically important to the sustainable economic growth of these nations and the economic prosperity and national security of our own country."
Under the pilot program, participants develop and field test food aid products for children, women and infants. The products are nutritionally enhanced with vitamins or minerals to address the micronutrient deficiencies of a specific population or group. The products are developed in the United States using domestically grown commodities.
The first program award was issued in August 2010 to the International Partnership for Human Development, Inc., which continues to test its ready-to-use, supplementary dairy paste in Guinea-Bissau.
Through the pilot program, USDA hopes to identify new, more effective products to be distributed through the McGovern-Dole Program. McGovern-Dole participants either use or sell the donated U.S. commodities in recipient countries to help support education, child development, and food security in low-income, food deficit countries that are committed to universal education. For example, in Bangladesh, 350,000 children in more than 1,800 schools are being fed by the World Food Program with help from the McGovern-Dole Program. Currently, 37 food aid agreements are being funded with 16 cooperating sponsors in 30 countries, assisting more than five million beneficiaries.
The McGovern-Dole Program is named in honor of Ambassador and former Senator George McGovern and former Senator Robert Dole for their tireless efforts to encourage a global commitment to school feeding and child nutrition. In October 2009, both men were recognized by the World Food Prize for their leadership in forging the link between the productivity of American farmers and the needs of hungry children around the world.
The Micronutrient-Fortified Food Aid Products Pilot Program and the McGovern-Dole Program are administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. More information can be found at www.fas.usda.gov.
The United States is committed to nutrition and education as high impact investments. The McGovern-Dole Program complements the United States' leadership in the 1,000 Days partnership and global Scaling Up Nutrition movement, which support improved nutrition in early life, when it has the greatest impact on improving cognition, growth and lifetime health.USDA's food aid programs contribute to the goals of President Obama's global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. Feed the Future is part of a multilateral effort launched at the L'Aquila World Summit on Food Security in 2009 to accelerate progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger by 2015. More information on Feed the Future can be found at www.feedthefuture.gov.