Kansas State University will get a $3 million USDA grant, the largest grant of six awarded, to develop a sorghum-based fortified blended food for infants and young children.
The K-State team of scientists includes Sajid Alavi, Nina Lilja, Edgar Chambers, Brian Lindshield and Sandy Procter. The project will involve research and development at KSU and field testing in Tanzania of all three variants of extruded fortified blended foods – corn and soy; sorghum and soy and sorghum and cowpea.
The national sorghum checkoff has been funding this project for the past two years with a goal of making sorghum a viable component of all U.S. food aid programs.
The total USDA investment to help develop improved food aid products under the Micronutrient-Fortified Food Aid Products Pilot Program is more than $8.5 million. The program is funded by the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.
Recipients of the funds will focus their efforts over the next three years in Cambodia, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Mozambique and Tanzania.
"These grants will fund the development of new food aid products that are tailored to the nutritional needs of a specific population," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "Our efforts to support global food security are important to the many people around the world who do not have access to nutritious and safe food. Fresh approaches to food assistance are also critically important to the sustainable economic growth of these nations and the economic prosperity and national security of our own country."
Under the pilot program, participants develop and field test food aid products for children, women and infants. The products are nutritionally enhanced with vitamins or minerals to address the micronutrient deficiencies of a specific population or group. The products are developed in the United States using domestically grown commodities.
Through the pilot program, USDA hopes to identify new, more effective products to be distributed through the McGovern-Dole Program. McGovern-Dole participants either use or sell the donated U.S. commodities in recipient countries to help support education, child development, and food security in low-income, food deficit countries that are committed to universal education. For example, in Bangladesh, 350,000 children in more than 1,800 schools are being fed by the World Food Program with help from the McGovern-Dole Program. Currently, 37 food aid agreements are being funded with 16 cooperating sponsors in 30 countries, assisting more than five million beneficiaries.
The Micronutrient-Fortified Food Aid Products Pilot Program and the McGovern-Dole Program are administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. More information can be found at www.fas.usda.gov.