USAID fact sheet: Food assistance to Iraq

News and Press Release
Originally published
On March 20, 2003 the Bush Administration announced the immediate release of 200,000 metric tons of wheat from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, with another 400,000 tons to be made available as needed.1

A portion of the wheat from the reserve will be exchanged for rice, so that a total of 500,000 MT of food commodities will be available to feed the people of Iraq.

The first shipment of 50,000 metric tons of wheat from this donation is expected to be moving next week and is scheduled to arrive in the Middle East within one month. The food commodities will be transported into Iraq by WFP when the situation is secure. Additional wheat and rice will follow over the next weeks and months.

Prior to this announcement, the U.S. has also provided:

  • $40 million of assistance to the World Food Program (WFP) for planning and logistical support costs and some food pre-positioning. A further $20 million has been approved and is on the way.

  • 110,000 metric tons of flour, rice, vegetable oil and beans that is already ordered, shipped or en route to the region to assist with refugees and displaced Iraqis.
In total, the U.S. government is providing 610,000 metric tons of food worth $300 million as well as $60 million cash for a total contribution of $360 million. In addition, the WFP has positioned 132,000 metric tons of food in region, which will feed 2.2 million people per month for about four months. Taking these and other donations into account, the international community is providing over 740,000 metric tons of food to feed the Iraqi people.

1. The Emerson Trust is an emergency reserve administered under the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture. It is available for humanitarian relief in developing countries, allowing the United States to respond to unanticipated food crises. U.S. food aid programs, under Title II of Public Law 480, are currently fully allocated for the fiscal year, and use of the reserve will help ensure that sufficient commodities are available to respond to needs in Iraq without affecting U.S. food aid commitments elsewhere in the world. The reserve was reauthorized through 2007 by the 2002 Farm Bill.

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