Mar 15, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC -- Last month, members of the USA Rice Food Aid Subcommittee met with key leadership staff from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Food for Peace and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Assistance Division to discuss the increased use of fortified rice in global feeding programs.
While the use of all rice increased to more than 100,000 MT in 2017, this was buoyed in part by the introduction of fortified rice. Implementing agencies are adding fortified rice to their food rations with greater frequency as a superior micronutrient fortified food that can save and improve lives around the world. In one year alone, the use of fortified rice in global feeding programs increased to 25,000 MT from a few hundred tons the previous year.
USDA released a revised commodity specification document for fortified rice at the start of 2017 allowing for the use of both extruded and rinse resistant coated versions. Previously, only extruded fortified rice was approved for use in global feeding programs.
"The inclusion of a second fortification technology provides more availability and pricing options, and is particularly attractive to USA Rice members who participate in food aid tenders," said Bobby Hanks, chairman of the USA Rice Food Aid Subcommittee. "We expect to see not only an increase of fortified rice tonnage in food assistance, but increased participation in future tenders as well."
While fortified rice is already being used in significant amounts in USDA's food assistance programs, there was new news from USAID about their commitment to use increasing quantities of fortified rice this year and beyond.
"Both USDA and USAID were emphatic that they view the process of introducing, approving, and utilizing fortified rice as a major success story," Hanks said. "Both agencies credit USA Rice for the technical input along the way, the close collaboration in the implementation process, and the ongoing partnership in rolling out a superior product that will make a significant contribution to ending global malnutrition."
Over the next months, USA Rice will work with partners at both agencies to finalize the revised tender language, work on packaging solutions for improved shelf life, and ensure that the food aid bags provide maximum protection for the micronutrient contents.
Hanks concluded, "This is a perfect example of the success of the public/private partnership between USA Rice, USDA, and USAID."