$27.5 million in U.S. food aid for Pakistan, Afghanistan
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday announced plans to provide $27.5 million in food aid to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The donation, which is part of the USDA’s Food for Progress program, will benefit an estimated 3 million people in rural areas of both countries, the department said.
The Food for Progress allocation includes about 17,400 metric tons of U.S. vegetable oil (10,600 metric tons for Afghanistan and 6,800 metric tons for Pakistan) that will be purchased on the U.S. market and donated by the USDA. The commodities will go to the governments in both countries; the vegetable oil will be sold to local agribusinesses. Proceeds from the sale will be used to implement agricultural and rural development programs, the USDA said.
In addition to the Food for Progress funding, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Afghanistan’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock H.E. Mohammad Asif Rahimi and Pakistan’s Minister for Food, Agriculture, and Livestock Nazar Muhammad Gondal discussed efforts by the USDA to:
' Develop agriculture trade corridors along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan to facilitate trans-border trade.
' Strengthen food security in Afghanistan and Pakistan by collaborating on research and improve the production of fruits, nuts, livestock, and other agricultural products and reduce harvest loss.
' Improve water and watershed management and irrigation methods in the two Central Asian countries.