Washington / DC. (usda) The U.S. Department of Agriculture´s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service announced funding for seven international projects through the 2014 Food for Progress Program. In total, more than 1,6 million people will directly benefit from the program this year.
The Food for Progress Program is an important tool in the effort to support sustainable agricultural production in developing nations and promote agricultural trade. The program helps countries increase the value and output of their agricultural economy and build agricultural trade capacity. U.S. agricultural commodities donated to recipient countries through Food for Progress are sold on the local market and the proceeds are used to support agricultural, economic or infrastructure development programs.
Projects funded in fiscal year 2014 will address a wide range of issues, including: the mitigation of crop disease, capacity building to develop national agricultural extension programs and farmer cooperatives, improvement of seed varieties and crop diversification. Commodities USDA is providing this year include dehydrated potato flakes, corn, soybean oil, soybean meal, vegetable oil and wheat.
Examples of this year´s Food for Progress efforts
USDA will be working with the National Cooperative Business Association to improve El Salvador´s coffee sector. Lending to agricultural producers, processors and other actors will be expanded and private-public partnerships will be leveraged to improve marketing and production infrastructure for this important crop. El Salvador´s coffee crop has been affected by coffee rust, which threatens to destroy plants, reduce outputs and destabilize coffee prices world-wide.
In Nicaragua, USDA will work with Catholic Relief Services, government ministries and the local university to improve the cacao agroforestry and livestock sectors in the impoverished eastern coast of the country. This project will help small producers not only achieve higher productivity but will also work within the value chain of production, institute processes for quality control and thus expand producers´ market reach.
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 feedthefuture.gov.