US wheat heads to Jordan to aid with Syrian refugee crisis

By Daniel Enoch

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WASHINGTON, May 10, 2015 - The U.S. will provide Jordan with 100,000 metric tons of wheat as part of a pledge to support agricultural development and trade with the Middle Eastern country.

"Jordan is one of our most effective, capable and steadfast partners not only in the Middle East, but around the world," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today a signing the agreement in Amman, Jordan's capital. "USDA's food assistance will be used to relieve some of the economic burden that Jordan is facing as a result of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who've been displaced because of the Syrian civil war."

Lets Talk Food

The wheat, valued at around $25 million, will be provided to Jordan through the Food for Progress Program. The Jordanian government will use proceeds from the sale of the commodities to implement projects aimed at improving agricultural productivity and stimulating economic growth, USDA said in a news release.

"The Obama administration remains committed to investing in the creation of economic stability and opportunity in the Middle East," Vilsack said. "As we have done in the past with Jordan and around the world, U.S. produced commodities will not only feed people but enhance agricultural productivity and trade."

USDA describes for Food for Progress Program as the “cornerstone” of its efforts to support sustainable agricultural production in developing nations and promote agricultural trade. The program helps developing countries and emerging democracies modernize and strengthen their agricultural sectors, it says.

The department said its food aid programs contribute to the goals of President Obama's global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. In fiscal year 2014, almost a quarter million people in the Feed the Future countries and regions received USDA's agricultural productivity or food security training, according to USDA.

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