WISHH Perspectives

USAID Announcement Reinforces U.S. Soy’s Importance in Global Food Security

USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced an unprecedented increase in funding for the procurement of Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic-Foods (RUTFs), which are commonly manufactured with protein-rich U.S. Soy.

U.S. Soy’s already significant role in global food security is made even more important by a historic decision by the U.S. Agency for International Development. USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced a nearly $1.3 million additional aid package to combat malnutrition during a July 18 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

As part of the package, Power said the United States will provide $200 million to UNICEF to procure more ready-to-use-therapeutic foods (RUTFs) and distribute them to the areas that most need them, including countries in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. U.S. Soy is already a vital ingredient in RUTFs and other food assistance. RUTFs, an energy-dense medical food paste made of soy, peanuts, powdered milk, vegetable oil, sugar, and multivitamins, is one of the most effective tools to help severely malnourished children.

“With this commitment, we will help get this lifesaving care into the mouths of an additional 2.4 million children, the largest leap in coverage on record, and while this is the most significant commitment that has ever been made to treat severely malnourished children, there is still more that can be done and there are others who can chip in to help,” said Power.

“The Eleanor Crook Foundation, our co-hosts, the CRI Foundation, the ELMA Relief Foundation, and the philanthropist Sir Chris Hohn are joining us today to contribute an additional $50 million toward this effort.”

Because of its nutritious protein value, U.S. Soy is used in RUTFs as a key ingredient in foods that nourish people throughout the world. With support from the United Soybean Board, ASA/WISHH is working closely with the Rhode Island-based Edesia, which manufacturers and ships RUTFs to more than 60 countries.

Due to the importance of the relationship, U.S. soybean growers traveled to Edesia’s plant in December. At the time, the company projected it would need to procure soy flour that would use the equivalent of more than 170,000 bushels of U.S. soybeans in 2022. Edesia Executive Director Maria Kasparian notes that USAID’s announcement sets the stage for more demand for U.S. Soy.

“Soy is a nutritious and cost-effective ingredient that Edesia uses in our life-saving products,” Kasparian said. “Because of this announcement, we expect our soy needs could potentially double, making our partnerships with globally minded soybean farmers and processors more important than ever.”

“USAID’s announcement further reinforces the importance of U.S. Soy for global food security,” said Gerry Hayden, ASA/WISHH Program chair and an ASA director from Kentucky. “Through USB’s funding of ASA/WISHH’s leadership for global food security, U.S. soybean growers were able to personally see the role of U.S. Soy in Edesia’s RUTFs in December at WISHH’s global food security dialogue.”

“WISHH leads U.S. Soy’s contributions to global food security in a way that also creates demand for U.S. Soy protein,” said USB Director Tony Mellenthin, a soybean grower from Wisconsin. “USB’s continued support reinforces our own strategic plan to deliver sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day.”

Edesia Executive Director Maria Kasparian stands among bags of soy flour. USAID’s announcement could lead companies like Edesia to increase the use of soy in RUTFs due to its nutritious protein value.

WISHH is a program of the American Soybean Association and is funded in part by the United Soybean Board and state soybean board checkoff programs

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