AGRICULTURE SECRETARY Ann M. Veneman is traveling to Afghanistan and Iraq for a first-hand evaluation of the progress being made and the challenges that continue in building democratic societies and market-oriented economies. She will also visit Uzbekistan during her trip.

“The visits will provide an opportunity to evaluate the progress being made in the food and agriculture sectors in Iraq and Afghanistan and to review the many activities under way,” a spokesman said. “USDA has made a considerable contribution to the rebuilding of agriculture in both Iraq and Afghanistan and has provided considerable food assistance to Uzbekistan.”

In addition, she will visit locations that are providing new opportunities for women and will review humanitarian efforts to provide food, education and health services. In each country, Veneman will tour local agriculture projects and meet with government leaders.

The secretary departed on Nov. 7 and was expected to return on Nov. 14.