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AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL $80 MILLION IN FOOD ASSISTANCE UNDER MCGOVERN-DOLE PROGRAM
USDA Releases Final Rule on Food Assistance Program Regulations
KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 7, 2009-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that an additional 51,700 tons of agricultural commodities, valued at nearly $80 million, will be provided to children in low-income, food-deficit countries under USDA's McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program for fiscal year 2009. This assistance is in addition to $95.5 million allocated for fiscal 2009 for the McGovern-Dole Program that were announced in December 2008.
"No child in the world should go to bed hungry and this additional funding will help remedy the very sad reality that across the globe, every night many do," said Vilsack. "As a result of this effort, 655,000 poor children will eat a nutritious meal during their school day. By combining nutrition assistance with education, this investment will create opportunity for some of the poorest children in the world."
Today's announcement will benefit children, women and schools in Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Niger and Uganda. This allocation and the one announced in December together will feed nearly 4.2 million children in 19 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The program helps support education, child development, and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education. It provides for donations of U.S. agricultural products, as well as financial and technical assistance for school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects. To date, the McGovern-Dole program has provided meals to more than 22 million children in 41 countries and boosted school attendance by an estimated 14 percent overall, and by 17 percent for girls.
Administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the 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 2008, both men were recognized with 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 following is a list of the McGovern-Dole Program allocations for 2009:
MCGOVERN-DOLE PROGRAM FY 2009 ALLOCATIONS
PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED MCGOVERN-DOLE PROGRAM ALLOCATIONS
* USDA reserves about $3 million to implement and monitor the agreements.
Also today, USDA's FAS announced a final rule that clarifies and streamlines program operations under the Food for Progress program and the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program. The final rule was published in the Federal Register on March 26, 2009 and will go into effect May 26, 2009.
Program changes include the following:
Emphasizing the reporting of performance-based accomplishments achieved by program participants, enabling FAS to better target funding toward projects that achieve the greatest results;
Providing greater flexibility in the settlement of claims arising under the programs;
Emphasizing participant eligibility requirements, including those obligations for continued participation under USDA food aid programs;
Providing USDA the option of procuring freight directly from carriers, as opposed to doing so indirectly through program participants;
Addressing multi-country agreements where the Commodity Credit Corporation delivers donated commodities to one country while activities to fulfill the agreement are carried out in another country; and
Setting forth a process that USDA will use to determine whether a product is considered a U.S. product.
FAS received 17 comments on its proposed rule from private entities that are affected by the regulations, including private voluntary organizations and their associations, commodity organizations, shipping and freight industry representatives and a government agency.
The Food for Progress program provides U.S. agriculture commodities to developing countries and emerging democracies committed to introducing and expanding free enterprise in the agricultural sector. Commodities are currently provided on a donation basis to foreign governments, private voluntary organizations, non-profit organizations, cooperatives or intergovernmental organizations.
The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program helps support education, child development and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education. It provides for donations of U.S. agricultural products, as well as financial and technical assistance for school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects. The 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.
A copy of the Federal Register notice is available at http://www.fas.usda.gov/info/fr/notices.asp. For more information, contact Babette Gainor, Deputy Directory or FAS's Food Assistance Division, at (202) 720-4221 or by e-mail at Babette.Gainor@fas.usda.gov.