Food Aid Mission to Ethiopia Led by Officers of NAMAJanuary 12, 2004
CONTACT: Paul Green, International Trade Consultant
Washington, DC – January 12, 2004. John Gillcrist, North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) Chairman and President of Bartlett Milling Company and Guy Shoemaker, NAMA Vice Chair and President of Horizon Milling, LLC led a NAMA team on a mission to Ethiopia. The team visited numerous food aid distribution sites, development projects and missions to gain a better understanding of the use of NAMA member products in food assistance programs. They met with seven relief agencies and consulted on how the delivery of nutrition via these enriched and fortified products can be most effective in improving the quality of life for millions of at-risk individuals in Africa. NAMA directors Craig Fischer, President of ADM Milling Company and Fred Luckey, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Bunge Milling, Inc., and Paul Green of NAMA joined Gillcrist and Shoemaker.
“NAMA wants to demonstrate to our partners our support for nutrition-based food aid initiatives,” said Gillcrist. “When highly nutritious foods are used in targeted food assistance interventions, critical humanitarian need is met.” For example, research has shown that without the proper level of nutrition, HIV/AIDS anti-retroviral drugs are ineffective. Blended and fortified foods are the most cost-effective intervention to assure these drugs can improve the quality of life for HIV affected individuals.
Mr. Shoemaker remarked, “NAMA companies are doing what they do best; in fact, better than anyone else in the world. We produce the most cost-effective nutrition delivery foods in the world. They can be used in programs that create a stable nutrition base and can provide a foundation for progress on other development, health and education issues in the developing world.”
The US has faced criticism from trading partners in the World Trade Organization over food aid programs. NAMA will use information gained from the mission to advise Congress, development agencies and other agriculture interests in devising defensible, humanitarian food aid programs. “The more we can demonstrate that well thought-out food aid programs offer the opportunity for a win-win between US value-added product interests and humanitarian need, the easier it will be to defend those programs. In fact, vital, life sustaining food aid is only reaching a fraction of those in need,” said Gillcrist.
More than 50,000 metric tons of enriched wheat flour and more than 100,000 metric tons of fortified corn soy blend and other blended grain products went to Ethiopia in fiscal year 2003. “We saw how our food products can be the catalyst to very positive change by enabling farmers to reclaim their land, capture precious water and get back on their feet. Consistent food aid programming is America’s most significant, most visible and most respected demonstration of goodwill throughout the world,” concluded Gillcrist.
NAMA has 45 member companies operating 170 wheat, corn, oat and rye mills in 38 states and 150 cities. Its membership represents about 95% of the total U.S. capacity.
For background information, nutritional information, product uses and statistics on food aid products go to http://www.namamillers.org/oldsite/int_fa.html.
For a bio on John Gillcrist, go to http://www.namamillers.org/oldsite/cs_bios_chairman.html.
PowerPoint photo album containing additional photos from the trip http://www.namamillers.org/oldsite/powerpoint/Ethiopia.ppt
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