LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) announced its investment in two international food assistance programs that will address food insecurity and help improve the agricultural infrastructure in underdeveloped regions of the world. According to a press release from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the agency will support the Food for Progress Program as well as the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition (McGovern-Dole) Program in the 2016 fiscal year, providing financial and technical support to food-insecure communities in Africa, Asia and Central America. The two programs are expected to provide help to approximately 6.1 million people across the world.

The Food for Progress Program aids developing countries and emerging democracies in order to both strengthen and modernize their agricultural divisions and has two principal objectives, which include improving agricultural productivity and expanding trade of agricultural products. USDA is pledging $160 million to support eight different projects under this program.

The key objective of the McGovern-Dole Program is to reduce hunger, increase literacy and improve primary education, especially for girls. By providing school meals, as well as teacher training and related support, this program’s projects help boost enrollment and academic performance in developing countries’ schools.

USDA is pledging $195.5 million to support nine different projects under this program. Along with the financial support, USDA is also donating a variety of food US-produced food products to be used in school meals, including rice, beans, bulgur, dried peas, lentils, vegetable oil, corn-soy blend, soybean meal and textured soy protein.

“There’s nothing more powerful than seeing USDA’s food assistance and development projects in action around the world,” said FAS Administrator Phil Karsting. “I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of project sites and witness the impact this work is having, both in terms of feeding and educating vulnerable kids and also increasing agricultural productivity in developing countries. I’m proud of the investment that we are making in a food-secure future.”