US – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a USD 2.3 billion funding initiative aimed at bolstering global trade and providing international food aid.

This funding provided through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), is poised to benefit US fresh produce farmers while addressing global hunger.

Of the USD 2.3 billion, USD 1.3 billion has been allocated to establish a Regional Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (RAPP), focused on diversifying export markets, and enhancing demand for US agricultural products.

Additionally, USD1 billion will be dedicated to commodity-based international food aid.

The announcement received support from agricultural leaders, including the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC), and others.

According to the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the funding will empower the US agricultural sector to strengthen its presence in existing markets, explore new market opportunities, and ensure the delivery of high-quality American agriculture and food products worldwide.

The leaders advocated for Congress to double funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program, which have not seen an increase in over 16 years despite consistently delivering positive returns on investment.

Jim Mulhern, President, and CEO of NMPF, expressed gratitude for the USDA’s decision to invest in enhancing international market opportunities for American dairy farmers.

He urged Congress to provide additional funding for these programs to further strengthen the US dairy industry.

On the other hand, USDEC President and CEO Krysta Harden welcomed the USDA’s move to support American agriculture, highlighting the importance of CCC resources in funding programs that promote dairy products in international markets.

She emphasized the need to work together to level the playing field for US dairy farmers and producers.

In addition, the newly introduced RAPP is designed to facilitate the entry of US exports into new markets and increase market share in growth markets.

Moreover, the USDA will use US$1 billion to address global hunger by purchasing commodities from US producers and working in conjunction with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to distribute these food products worldwide.

Data from the USDA revealed that the agricultural trade deficit for the 2023 fiscal year stands at US$19 billion, and this deficit is projected to increase to USD 27.5 billion in the coming year.

Growing competition in key export markets, especially in Asia and Africa, further justifies investment in export market development.

The USDA highlighted the substantial return on investment in export market development, stating that for every USD 1 invested in this area, exports increase by USD 24.50.

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