The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the fiscal year 2013 Food for Progress and McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition allocations will benefit more than 10.5 million people worldwide.
Under the programs, USDA purchases U.S. commodities and donates them to government agencies and private-voluntary organizations in designated countries. This year’s Food for Progress program is valued at $172 million, while the McGovern-Dole program has more than $214 million.
Food for Progress recipients in developing countries and emerging democracies sell the commodities and use the funds to introduce and expand free enterprise in the agricultural sector. For example, a Food for Progress project in Mozambique supports dairy farmers' efforts to improve herd management practices, and increase both the volume and quality of milk. The project also helps dairy cooperatives collect, store, process, and market milk efficiently. This project benefits 27,000 agricultural producers and 3,000 businesses, USDA explained.
The McGovern-Dole Program focuses on low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education. Participants either use or sell the donated U.S. commodities to support education, child development and food security. For example, in Kenya, more than 650,000 children in approximately 2,000 schools have been fed with help from the program.
The commodities that USDA is donating include U.S.-produced bulgur, corn, corn-soy blend, dehydrated potato flakes, lentils, pinto beans, rice, split yellow peas, sorghum, soybean meal, soybean oil, vegetable oil and wheat.
USDA said it has “made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act.”
More than $23 million was cut from this year's food aid allocations due to sequestration. USDA said it has “undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.”