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USAID releases commodity reference guide

A revised Commodities Reference Guide (CRG), dated December 7, 2000, was released on USAID's website and is available for use and comment. It can be downloaded in Portable Document Format (PDF) at: http://www.usaid.gov/hum_response/crg/. The guide is a major revision and update of the original CRG, issued in 1988.

The CRG provides information on food commodities distributed under Title II of Public Law 480 (P.L. 480). This programme is administered by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and comprises emergency and development activities. Since its inception in 1954, the P.L. 480 Programme and other food assistance instruments have distributed 375 million metric tons of US food commodities valued at well over $50 billion. In 1990, the Congress amended the P.L. 480 legislation, re-asserting the United States' intent to use its agricultural productivity to enhance food security in the developing world.

The CRG is an information tool, providing relevant information about the food commodities used in Title II programmes. All food commodities are available to the P.L. 480 Programme as long as they are not determined to be in short supply by the US Secretary of Agriculture, a determination that is made every October (per Section 401(a) of the FAIR Act, 1996) by the Secretary of Agriculture.

The CRG is designed to provide organisations with a description of available food commodities, their nutritional values and physical properties, a guide to appropriate storage and handling, and important general information regarding their safe and effective use as rations in Title II programmes.

The CRG provides information on the food commodities that are in general use in the Title II programme in Part One (Title II Food Aid Commodities and Fact Sheets) and information and examples on selecting rations for different programme scenarios in Part Two (Guidelines for Selecting Food Aid Commodities).

Part Two has been developed and includes Guidelines for Selecting Food Aid with an overview chapter and the following modules:

USAID is interested in hearing from the readers of Field Exchange with comments on the recently released Guide.

For more information contact: Tom Marchione, Bureau for Humanitarian Response, U.S. Agency for International Development, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20523 E-mail: tmarchione@usaid.go

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USAID releases commodity reference guide. Field Exchange 12, April 2001. p11. www.ennonline.net/fex/12/usaid

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