USDA, USAID deploy $1 billion for emergency food assistance

By United States Department of Agriculture

USDA, USAID deploy $1 billion for emergency food assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for International Development will deploy $1 billion in Commodity Credit Corporation funding to purchase U.S.-grown commodities to provide emergency food assistance to people in need throughout the world, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced.

“America’s farmers are the most productive and efficient in the world, and we rely on them to supply safe and nutritious food not only to our nation but to the global community,” Secretary Vilsack said. “With many millions of people in dire need worldwide, the U.S. agricultural sector is well positioned to provide lifesaving food assistance. The United States produces more commodities than are consumed, and therefore has the opportunity to partner with USAID and extend this food to those in our global community who are struggling.”

“During this time of staggering global hunger, America is extending a hand to hungry communities around the world – and American farmers are crucial to that effort,” said Administrator Power. “USAID is honored to collaborate with USDA to purchase, ship, and distribute our surplus food supplies to people in urgent need across the globe.”

In October 2023, USDA stated its intention to bolster efforts to combat global hunger by purchasing U.S.-grown commodities and working with USAID, the lead federal coordinator for disaster assistance, to ensure those commodities reach people in need around the world.

An initial tranche of approximately $950 million will support the purchase, shipment, and distribution of U.S. wheat, rice, sorghum, lentils, chickpeas, dry peas, vegetable oil, cornmeal, navy beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans – commodities that align with traditional USAID international food assistance programming. USAID will determine where the available commodities will be most appropriate for programming without disrupting local markets. USDA will purchase the commodities and transfer them to USAID for distribution.

A separate pilot project, of up to $50 million, will also be set up to utilize U.S. commodities that have not traditionally been part of international food assistance programming, but that are shelf-stable and suitable for use in feeding food-insecure populations. USAID is working with humanitarian organizations to develop this limited pilot project, and details will be released once they have been developed. This pilot will only apply to this funding stream and no other food assistance programs administered by USAID.

USAID has selected 18 countries for the initial round of support: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen.

According to the Global Report on Food Crises and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, an estimated 205 million people need life-saving food assistance worldwide and some 768 million people are facing chronic hunger. These commodities will be used to provide emergency food assistance to people facing dire food insecurity. This effort is vital to the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued push to address emergency food needs around the world, injecting additional food assistance into the 18 countries listed above and thereby freeing up resources to address emerging crises worldwide when needed.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system, with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the USDA by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America.