In a significant move to provide emergency food assistance globally, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have announced the allocation of $1 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation to purchase commodities grown in the US.

The announcement came from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USAID Administrator Samantha Power, who stated, “America’s farmers are the most productive and efficient in the world, and we rely on them to supply safe and nutritious food not only to our nation, but to the global community.”

Secretary Vilsack further highlighted the pressing need for food assistance globally, mentioning that there are “millions of people in dire need [of food assistance] worldwide” and asserting that the US agricultural sector is “well positioned to provide lifesaving food assistance.”

He added, “The United States produces more commodities than are consumed, and therefore has the opportunity to partner with USAID and extend this food to those in our global community who are struggling.”

According to the USDA, an initial allocation of around $950 million will support the purchase, transportation, and distribution of a variety of US commodities including wheat, rice, sorghum, lentils, chickpeas, dry peas, vegetable oil, cornmeal, navy beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans.

USAID will take on the role of determining the most suitable destinations for these commodities, aiming to implement the programme without disrupting local markets. Following this, the USDA will proceed with the purchase of the commodities, which will then be handed over to USAID for distribution.

“During this time of staggering global hunger, America is extending a hand to hungry communities around the world – and American farmers are crucial to that effort. USAID is honoured to collaborate with USDA to purchase, ship and distribute our surplus food supplies to people in urgent need across the globe,” Administrator Power explained.

Additionally, a separate pilot project, valued at up to $50 million, will be established to explore the use of US commodities that are not typically included in international food aid but are shelf-stable and suitable for feeding populations facing food insecurity.

USAID is currently collaborating with humanitarian organisations to develop this pilot project, which will be exclusive to this funding and will not affect other food assistance programmes managed by USAID.

Eighteen countries are slated to benefit from the initial phase of support, including Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Yemen.

The Global Report on Food Crises and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization have identified approximately 205 million individuals worldwide in need of urgent food assistance, with an estimated 768 million suffering from chronic hunger.

The USDA emphasised that the commodities included in this initiative are intended to provide emergency aid to those in critical need. This programme is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader strategy to tackle global food insecurity, offering additional aid to the 18 designated countries and enhancing the flexibility to respond to emerging crises.


Sam Allcock, a seasoned entrepreneur with over two decades of expertise in Food & Drink Editorial.

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