The American Soybean Association says it is USDA is including record levels of value-added soy protein products in its fiscal 2004 Food for Progress program.

The commodity group says its World Initiative for Soy in Human Health program was instrumental in providing to the government and to private voluntary organizations the nutritional information that led to greater recognition of the benefits of soy protein.

“Through World Initiative for Soy in Human Health, soybean growers have played an enormous role in helping hunger-fighting organizations learn about the potential of high-protein soy to meet the nutritional needs of people in diverse countries,” says ASA President Ron Heck, a soybean producer from Perry, Iowa. “This USDA announcement is confirmation that World Initiative for Soy in Human Health has helped soy processors and food aid organizations work together more closely.”

On Dec. 3, USDA announced donations for 22 developing countries, including allocations for record-level use of high-protein soy products. For each donation, USDA will negotiate detailed agreements and announce each as they are completed.

The allocations are currently slated to contain 2,350 metric tons of soy flour, 1,700 metric tons of textured soy protein, and 20 metric tons of soy protein concentrate. In addition to these high-protein products, USDA announced it would provide 38,000 metric tons of soybean meal, 10,000 metric tons of whole soybeans, 10,000 metric tons of vegetable oil, plus 5,100 metric tons of soybean oil and 1,030 metric tons of corn-soy blend. ASA estimates the commercial value of these products could exceed $19 million.

“World Initiative for Soy in Human Health is helping hunger-fighting organizations use high-protein soy products to combat malnutrition in countries throughout the world,” Heck says. “In addition to meeting nutritional needs of the hungry, the Food for Progress initiatives encourage free enterprise in developing countries and emerging democracies.”

Recipients of the high-protein products include Planet Aid, Inc., which will use soy flour and textured soy protein in Mozambique, where it operates “soy restaurants.” World Initiative for Soy in Human Health is named in the project as a technical support provider for Planet Aid, Inc.

CARE, Mercy Corps, Counterpart International, and Save the Children will receive soy flour for their work in the Central Asian country of Tajikistan. Last year, World Initiative for Soy in Human Health helped the groups conduct in-country trials of soy flour, which prompted their confidence to request the products.

USDA also approved Florida-based Food for the Poor's request for textured soy protein to use in its projects in Jamaica. Likewise, International Relief and Development will receive soy flour for distribution in Indonesia and Cambodia.

These allocations are part of the Bush administration's ongoing efforts to promote economic growth and address global hunger. The United States is the world's largest food aid donor and a leader in supporting market-oriented development. The USDA provided over $500 million in international assistance under its 2003 programs, and hopes to contribute a similar amount for 2004.

ASA and a group of state soybean organizations launched the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health program in 2000, and today, numerous state soybean organizations support World Initiative for Soy in Human Health along with ASA and the United Soybean Board. For more information, see www.wishh.org.

One of the early achievements of World Initiative for Soy in Human Health was to provide the nutritional information to the government that led to greater recognition of the benefits of soy protein. After months of input from World Initiative for Soy in Human Health regarding product nutritional value and market information, the USDA completed its review of defatted soy flour, soy protein concentrates, isolated soy protein, textured vegetable proteins and soy milk replacement.