December 4, 2022

Ambassador Cindy McCain announces $80 million U.S. food assistance to Ethiopia, Sudan, Burkina Faso and Afghanistan

President Joe Biden presents the Medal of Freedom for former U.S. Senator John McCain to Ambassador Cindy McCain, Thursday, July 7, 2022, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
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Ambassador Cindy McCain on Thursday announced that the United States will be releasing $80 million in additional food assistance to Ethiopia, Sudan, Burkina Faso and Afghanistan.

“I am pleased to announce nearly $80 million in additional humanitarian funding to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to bolster existing emergency and resilience programs in Afghanistan and Ethiopia as well as multiple countries in the Sahel and Coastal West Africa,” wrote the wife of the late Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain.

She said that through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States will improve availability and access to food by supplying aid and technical assistance to small-holder farmers and livestock-dependent communities, focusing on wheat and livestock production.

“These funds will be used to help those most vulnerable – people displaced by ongoing conflict and consecutive climate shocks,” she wrote in a statement from Rome, Italy.

McCain blamed Russia’s war on Ukraine for exacerbating the global food crisis. “This is a needless conflict that has exacerbated an already overstretched global food system and further harmed vulnerable populations suffering from the effects of climate change and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” she said, adding that  the United States continues to focus on supporting those where the need is the greatest and provide additional assistance to address the rapidly growing global food crisis. 

McCain said that $32 million will go to Ethiopia, $30 million to Afghanistan, $15 million to Sudan and $2 million to Burkina Faso.

She wrote, “In Ethiopia, $32 million will improve the food security and resilience of vulnerable households affected by conflict in the Tigray region.  These funds will go towards the procurement and distribution of crop seeds and fertilizers. In Afghanistan, $30 million will be allocated to increase the availability and access to food by restoring winter wheat production capacity for small holder farming households and protecting livestock dependent communities most affected by drought.

“In Sudan, $15 million will support food security and crop assessments to improve timely and effective response to current and future climate shocks.  These funds will also increase immediate access to food through rebuilding livestock productive capacity in mainly female-headed households.  In Burkina Faso, $2 million will protect and rehabilitate livelihoods of conflict-affected communities in rural areas.”

She added that the remainder will focus on strengthening national capacities on food security, nutrition, and resilience assessment and analysis as well as regional humanitarian preparedness and response coordination in West Africa and the Sahel.

“The United States is a long-term and committed partner to FAO in all its work,” McCain said. “Together, we will continue to address the urgent needs of the food crisis while building longer-term resilience around the world.  We urge our colleagues around the world to increase their funding also for FAO, the World Food Program (WFP), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to meet the unprecedented needs of these organizations caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.”

To date, the United States has committed an additional $180 million in new funding to FAO, specifically to address the global food crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine – $80 million to improve food security and nutrition for vulnerable Afghans and $20 million to alleviate the rising global cost of fertilizer in Guatemala, Honduras, and Zambia.

Read also Administrator Samantha Power On More Than Four Million Metric Tons Of Ukrainian Grain Moving Through Black Sea Ports In August

United States Agency for International Development, Statement August 31, 2022

Earlier this month, thanks to sustained international pressure and diplomacy, Ukrainian grain began to once again move through the Black Sea following a six-month blockade of Ukraine’s ports by Russian forces. Today, thanks to the work of those on the ground, especially our United Nations partners, we’ve reached a breakthrough. In the month of August alone, Ukraine exported a total of over 4 million metric tons (MT) of grain – nearly 1.3 million via the Ports of Odessa, Pivdennyi, and Chornomorsk and 3 million via the EU’s Solidarity Lanes effort. 

Of the grain shipments now moving out of the Black Sea, several have gone directly to support humanitarian relief efforts around the world. The first humanitarian grain shipment of 23,000 MT of grain, delivered with support from USAID to the UN World Food Program (WFP), left the Black Sea on August 16 and arrived in Djibouti this week to be distributed in the Horn of Africa. A shipment of WFP food assistance left Ukraine yesterday with USAID support, transporting 37,000 MT of grain from WFP to Turkey, where it will be milled into flour before arriving in Yemen, where over 17 million people are struggling with acute hunger. USAID has also committed to supporting the purchase, movement, and storage of up to 150,000 additional MT of grain by the WFP to help respond to the global food crisis.

Although this is a significant improvement from the widespread disruptions in exports caused by Vladimir Putin’s ongoing, unjustified war against Ukraine, these deliveries only account for about 62 percent of Ukraine’s pre-war monthly export of grain. While this progress is promising, much more will need to be done to restore Ukraine’s capacity to export agricultural commodities to levels seen before the Russian Federation’s full scale invasion. It is essential that parties continue to honor their commitments so that Ukraine’s grain can continue moving onto the global market as it is an essential food source to millions of people hardest hit by the staggering global food crisis facing the world today. 

In addition to our support of current grain shipments, USAID is providing vital assistance to the country’s embattled agriculture sector, the bedrock of its economy. On July 19, USAID announced a new $100 million Agriculture Resilience Initiative-Ukraine (AGRI-Ukraine) to help address Ukraine’s immediate agricultural export challenges, while simultaneously supporting the sector’s long-term needs. As an initial step, this assistance will provide storage to more than 5,000 businesses in Ukraine, helping cover 1.5 million MT of grain, equivalent to 10 percent of Ukraine’s current shortage in storage capacity. AGRI-Ukraine builds on a range of support USAID is providing to Ukraine’s agriculture sector in the wake of Putin’s war, including helping over 12,700 Ukrainian farmers obtain seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and other critical inputs and working with banks, credit unions, and the Government of Ukraine to increase farmers’ access to finance.

The United States will continue to work to meet the needs of people around the world who are suffering from a global food crisis exacerbated by the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine. Already, we have provided nearly $7.6 billion in assistance to respond to the crisis since the beginning of the war, and we will continue to do all that we can to get assistance to the people who need it most.

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