U.S. food assistance programs are feeding children around the world and helping farmers in developing countries boost productivity.

The United States, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food for Progress Program, delivered more than $351 million in food aid to developing nations in fiscal year 2019, providing meals for 4.1 million children, according to the USDA’s International Food Assistance Report. The 2019 fiscal year ran from October 1, 2018, to September 30, 2019.

“These contributions helped provide school meals and supported capacity building initiatives that improved agricultural production and economic expansion in developing nations,” USDA says in the report issued November 24.

USDA’s food aid programs also promote agricultural trade and bolster the United States as a preferred trade partner.

List of countries to which USDA delivered food aid in fiscal year 2019 (Source: USDA. Photos: © MiroS Lav/Keith Barnes/Shutterstock. Graphic: State Dept./M. Rios)
Graphic: State Dept./M. Rios

Aid distributed through USDA food assistance programs in FY 2019 reached more than 4.4 million people in 45 countries in Asia, Africa and South and Central America.

Working through volunteer and international organizations, USDA’s various programs fund school meals and nutrition programs around the world and offer training and technical assistance to boost farmers’ productivity.

USDA’s McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program provides food and helps developing countries create sustainable school meal programs. In FY 2019, agreements under the program brought $198 million in aid to nine countries including Cambodia, Haiti, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique and Uzbekistan.

USDA’s Food for Progress program, which seeks to boost farmers’ productivity and expand access to markets, worked in 33 countries in FY 2019, facilitating access to more than $131 million in agricultural financing and leading nearly 187,000 people to use improved farming practices or advanced technologies.

In Ghana, for example, Food for Progress helped 7,641 poultry farmers reduce production costs and earn more than $128 million in sales. The program’s aid also supported Indonesian spice farmers’ efforts to ensure their products meet the standards of international markets.