Fortified U.S.-Grown Rice Promoted at Food Aid Conference

Oct 13, 2016
Click image to enlarge infographic
DES MOINES, IA – This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) held a joint 2016 International Food Assistance and Food Security Conference where USA Rice heavily promoted advances in fortified rice.  

The gathering provided an ideal setting for information sharing and collaboration by the broader food aid industry stakeholders, including USA Rice.  Both USDA and USAID work independently to carry out a number of international food aid programs that often utilize U.S.-grown rice as part of their food distribution packages including Food for Peace, McGovern-Dole Food for Education, and Food for Progress programs.
Several hundred participants attended multiple break-out sessions and panels that focused on the importance of in-kind food aid.  One panel looked at increasing the operational efficiency of in-kind food assistance and another provided examples for the many private voluntary organizations (PVOs) that help deliver food aid overseas to better leverage the availability of in-kind contributions.
During his presentation on Food Aid Quality Review, Dr. Rufino Perez, USAID's Food Technologist and one of the leads on the initiative to promote fortified rice, emphasized the benefits of fortified rice for future U.S. government sponsored feeding programs.  Specifically, Dr. Perez noted that rice is a unique commodity, already consumed by millions, and the addition of fortified rice to the USAID and USDA master list of approved commodities holds the potential to "make significant strides in the fight against malnutrition."  

He went on to say that there will be increasing quantities of rice in future food assistance programs as "USAID has committed to use this product and will change all future rice procurement to include fortified rice."  USDA is already beginning to use fortified rice in McGovern-Dole school feeding programs.  Dr. Perez will become the lead on all USAID nutrition programs in the office of Food for Peace in 2017.
“It’s important for the U.S. rice industry to attend these broader stakeholder events to learn about the ongoing development of technologies and other innovative solutions to increase the nutritional composition of U.S. food aid,” said Sarah Moran, senior director for international promotion with USA Rice who attended the conference.  “Dr. Perez further solidified the importance of programming fortified rice into food aid packages, as a new, cost-effective, and innovative way to reverse global malnourishment in children.”

USA Rice continues to advocate to USDA and USAID for the prioritization of U.S.-grown rice through their international food aid programs. This year, industry has seen the first increase in food aid shipments of rice in the last five years due to USA Rice efforts, exporting nearly 90,000 MT of rice.

Sign-Up for the Daily