WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced plans for more than $200 million in international assistance under the USDA's Food for Progress and McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition programs for fiscal year 2007.

This assistance will provide more than 330,000 tons of agricultural commodities that will benefit 17 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

"These programs demonstrate America's continued compassion and commitment to improve the lives of people around the world," said Johanns. "As we share our agricultural abundance with others, we support economic reform and development and increased access to education and nutrition, leading to more productive and open economies and healthier and better educated societies."

The Food for Progress allocations announced today will benefit more than 1.4 million people in 10 countries. These new allocations are in addition to those previously announced that benefited another 718,000 people in two countries. The projects will be implemented by nonprofit organizations and the United Nations' World Food Program. Approved projects will support agricultural and rural development, while helping to address food shortages. Projects were chosen based on their agricultural focus, the country's needs, the proposal's quality and the organization's management, experience, financial and technical capabilities.

The Food for Progress program provides U.S. agriculture commodities to developing countries and emerging democracies committed to introducing and expanding free enterprise in the agricultural sector. Commodities are currently provided on a donation basis to foreign governments, private voluntary organizations, non-profit organizations, cooperatives or intergovernmental organizations.

The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program will feed nearly 1.5 million children in 11 developing countries. Previously announced allocations are feeding more 944,800 children in five countries. The program helps support education, child development and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education. It provides for donations of U.S. agricultural products, as well as financial and technical assistance for school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects.

The program is named in honor of Ambassador and former Senator George McGovern and former Senator Robert Dole for their tireless efforts to encourage a global commitment to school feeding and child nutrition.

Both the Food for Progress and McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition are administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. Lists of program allocations are in the full news release.

SOURCE: USDA news release.