THE WHITE HOUSE
For Immediate ReleaseMarch 19, 2000
FOOD ASSISTANCE FOR THE PEOPLE OF BANGLADESH
President Clinton will announce $97 million in food assistance funding for Bangladesh. This new food assistance includes a $74 million multi-year grant in PL 480 Title II food commodities from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to World Vision, a U.S. based private voluntary program. It also includes $23 million in Section 416b soybean oil contributions through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Approximately 5 million people will directly benefit from this program. The $74 million grant from USAID allows for the programming of 335,000 metric tons of wheat and other food commodities to implement food for work activities. These activities include repairing 275 schools and building 100,000 latrines, 12,500 tube wells, 1,000 kilometers of roads and 400 surface water systems. In addition, the program will focus efforts on reforestation and will also build disaster preparedness, mitigation and response capacity in rural areas.
This new commitment increases USAID's ongoing PL 480 Title II program by over 50% in Bangladesh and will improve the overall quality of life of rural families living below the poverty line. This funding will also assist in programs designed to strengthen the roles of women, girls' education, agriculture, health, economic development and disaster preparedness.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will also provide Bangladesh with 60,000 metric tons of Section 416 soybean oil this year, valued at an estimated $23 million. This is in addition to the 700,000 metric tons, or $84 million, of Section 416 wheat commodities Bangladesh received in 1998 under the President's food aid initiative. The soybean oil may be monetized and proceeds used for development and humanitarian purposes as outlined in a bilateral agreement. USDA will also fund the cost of transport for the food commodities.