USAID allocates $10 million to coffee rust victims in Central America

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is making a US$10 million donation to the UN World Food Program to provide food assistance to those most severely affected by drought and coffee rust in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The award, through USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, will provide cash transfers and food vouchers to close to 220,000 of the most vulnerable, food insecure populations in these countries, USAID has reported. Secretary John Kerry and USAID Associate Administrator Mark Feierstein announced the US Government support last week, at a meeting with the three foreign ministers in advance of the UN General Assembly. “We must ensure that Central Americans affected by the devastating drought and coffee rust crisis have enough to eat, the ability to support their families, and job opportunities,” said Feierstein, in a statement. “This assistance will help prevent families from sliding back into poverty, allowing individuals to remain in their communities and contribute to local development.” According to the Famine Early Warning System Network, since 2012, coffee rust has affected more than two million people in Latin America, causing an estimated US$1 billion in economic damage, which could lead to 500,000 job losses. USAID has invested close to US$20 million in the last year to combat coffee rust in Latin America and the Caribbean and leveraged a total of US$26 million in private sector investment, USAID reported. According to the report, USAID’s support will contribute to the UN World Food Program’s three-year, US$80 million project targeting more than 400,000 people in Central America.

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