NAMA leaders to Kenya, Uganda for food aid trip

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — Participants in a recent food aid/food security trip to Kenya, Uganda and Rome included three leaders of the flour milling industry together with former Senator and Ambassador George McGovern. The North American Millers’ Association was a sponsor of the trip, which featured visits to a number of World Food Program sites.

Trip participants were able to observe first hand how nutrition programs fit into broader food security initiatives in Africa.

Representing the milling industry on the May 10-21 trip were Paul Maass, president of ConAgra Mills Inc., Omaha, and NAMA vice-chairman; Rod Geiger, president of Bartlett Milling Co., Kansas City, and chairman of the NAMA International Trade Committee; and Elizabeth A. (Betsy) Faga, who recently retired as president of NAMA.

NAMA has been a strong proponent of food aid for several years, and within the group the strongest advocates have been millers who have made the trip. The year’s trip also was seen as an opportunity to honor Mr. McGovern for his food aid work.

Mr. McGovern long has been closely associated with international and domestic hunger relief programs. He and Senator Robert Dole were the authors of the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. The two were honored with the 2008 World Food Prize for their “inspired, collaborative leadership that has encouraged a global commitment to school feeding and enhanced school attendance and nutrition for millions of the world’s poorest children, especially girls.”

“The North American Millers' Association takes pride in producing highly nutritious grain foods, to make these programs a success,” Mr. Maass said. “It was a thrill to have been able to see these programs in action, changing children's and families' lives for the better through our industry's partnerships with the U.S. government, World Food Program and the private voluntary organizations.”

The McGovern–Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, administered by the U.S.D.A.’s Foreign Agricultural Service, helps support education, child development, and food security for some of the world's poorest children. It provides for donations of U.S. agricultural products, as well as financial and technical assistance, for school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education.

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