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Source: USDA news release

WASHINGTON, - The U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest $220 million in eight new school feeding projects that are expected to benefit more than a million children across 2,200 schools in food-insecure countries in Africa and East Asia, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today.

The funds are being awarded through the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which is administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service and is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022. This year's awards are part of the $2 billion investment to strengthen global food security, announced by President Joe Biden at the United Nations General Assembly.

"Through the McGovern-Dole Program, the United States is proud to be the largest global donor to school feeding efforts. During the last two decades, the program has had a remarkable track record, benefitting more than 31 million children and families in 48 countries and providing more than 5.5 billion school meals," Vilsack said. "The need continues today, as the global challenges of war, pandemic and climate change contribute to rising food insecurity."

Through the McGovern-Dole Program, FAS works with non-profit groups, international organizations and host governments in developing countries to reduce food insecurity, improve nutrition for vulnerable children and their families, and assist low-income, food-deficit countries with establishing successful and sustainable school meal programs. The program also aims to improve children's health and learning capacity even before they enter school by offering nutrition and support services for pregnant and nursing women, infants and pre-schoolers.

USDA's 2022 commitment includes direct financial support for the projects and funding for the purchase and transportation of 41,350 metric tons of nutrient-rich U.S.-grown commodities to be donated to the projects for use in school meals, including fortified rice, vegetable oil, corn-soy blend plus, lentils and beans. The awards also include $23.7 million for the purchase of nearly 13,000 tons of locally or regionally produced commodities, supporting producers and supply chains in the target countries, improving the nutritional diversity of school meals and contributing to the long-term sustainability of the school feeding programs.

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