U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (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, the 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.