Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced plans for $125 million in international food assistance under the USDA's Food for Progress program for fiscal year 2005.

The commodity donations will benefit 16 countries in Africa, Asia (including Central Asia), Latin America and the Middle East.

"America will continue to answer the call of those in need around the world as part of a long tradition of sharing our agricultural abundance with others," Johanns said. "This food aid program supports economic reforms and development that can help lift people out of poverty and lead to more productive, open, entrepreneurial societies."

The Food for Progress allocations include more than 300,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat and flour, corn, rice, soy products, vegetable oils, beans and other commodities that will be purchased on the U.S. market and donated by USDA. The commodities will go to nonprofit organizations and the United Nations World Food Program to support agricultural and rural development projects, while helping to address food shortages. The development projects are funded by sales of the donated U.S. commodities within the recipient countries.

Source: USDA Release