WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2001–The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that it will donate about 7,790 metric tons of U.S. agricultural commodities to Mercy Corps International (MCI) for use in Kyrgyzstan under the Global Food for Education (GFE) program. MCI, a private voluntary organization, will use the commodities to provide meals to nearly 500 kindergartens and boarding schools, and for programs to improve school facilities.
The donation will include approximately 540 metric tons of rice, 800 tons of vegetable oil, and 6,450 tons of wheat flour.
During the 2001/2002 school year, MCI will provide meals in 447 kindergartens and 50 boarding schools throughout the country. Funds generated by the sale of part of the commodities will be used to purchase additional food locally, to set up food-for-work programs for improving school facilities, and to offer grants for rebuilding and repairing schools and providing school supplies.
The fiscal 2001 agreement with MCI was signed on Aug. 3, 2001. The donation will be made under USDA’s Section 416(b) program, administered by the Foreign Agricultural Service. This agreement is part of the $300-million pilot GFE initiative to expand access to basic education and improve childhood development in poor countries. Under this initiative, the United States is providing surplus agricultural commodities to improve student enrollment, attendance, and performance, with special emphasis on increasing female enrollment. The supply period for this donation is fiscal year 2001.
For further information, contact Kwamena Cudjoe at (202) 720-4231, or send an e-mail to Cudjoe@fas.usda.gov Information on the GFE initiative can be found on the Internet at http://www.fas.usda.gov/excredits/gffei.html
FAS news releases are available on the Internet at http://www.fas.usda.gov and by fax polling. Callers should set their fax machines for polling and dial (202) 720-1728. For additional information about web or fax access, contact FAS Public Affairs Division at (202) 720-7115.