Report Identifies Ways for U.S. Government to Enhance Quality of Food Aid
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 26, 2011 Public Information: 202-712-4810
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Following is the text of a joint press release by the U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Recommendations from a two-year food aid quality review released today by researchers from Tufts University outline concrete ways for USAID and USDA to make enhancements to the impact of U.S. food assistance. Using funds authorized by Congress, the report was undertaken by USAID's Office of Food for Peace and Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
The review identifies the high potential benefit of food aid focused on the nutritional requirements of older infants, young children and pregnant and lactating women, given the importance of nutrition during the 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child's second birthday.
The report recommends reformulating fortified, blended foods; improving composition and use of fortified vegetable oil; improving fortified cereals used in general food distributions; using ready-to-use products when appropriate; and modifying USAID processes and guidance given to implementing partners.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton underscored the importance of the report's focus on women and children, "While good nutrition throughout life is important, science tells us that it is most critical during the 1,000 day window of opportunity."
"These recommendations will help U.S. agriculture make an even bigger difference in the lives of the almost one billion hungry people around the world," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Together, USDA and USAID hope to further increase the effectiveness of our successful food aid programs."
"Implementing these proposals will help children learn better, grow stronger and achieve their full potential. Optimizing our food aid programs, combined with our Feed the Future Initiative can help us build toward the goal of ending hunger in a generation," USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said in advance of the report's release.
A stakeholder session will be convened at the International Food Aid and Development Conference in June to discuss the implementation of the recommendations. The event will serve as a forum where multiple stakeholders can discuss the recommendations, their potential impact, practical constraints, as well as develop key strategies for implementation.
USAID and USDA will continue to work together with stakeholders to realize improvements to the quality, nutrition, and delivery of food aid. To access the report, go to www.foodaidquality.org (pdf, 2mb).