Food for the Poor Guyana shared out $1.7B of goods in 2002
Skills training programme planned

Stabroek News
May 27, 2003

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Food for the Poor-Guyana (FFTPG) last year distributed over $1.7B in donor aid to the less fortunate, while continuing to extend its distribution programme to more residents in rural locations.

The charitable organisation is now placing emphasis on skills training programmes to enhance the lives of the deprived and underprivileged across the country, a recent press briefing was told.

FFTPG, which last year received major donations from Food For The Poor (Miami) Inc. and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), distributed $1,773,983,041 in donated goods and aid countrywide. According to the agency's financial statements for 2002, $1,747,390,552 of the aid distributed came from donations made by these donor organisations, while the remaining $26,592,489 came from local and other donors.

However, total aid distributed was down from 2001 when over $2.8B in goods and aid was shared out. According to the financial statements, by the end of last year the company held assets for distribution, which included canned food and medical supplies among other items, at an estimated value of $473,353,376. In addition to this, goods amounting to $1,029,850,967 were shipped by FFTP (Miami) in December last year but were not received by the company at the time the accounts were prepared. Executive Director of FFTPG Leon Davis, who explained that this occurred because the goods were not readily cleared by customs, stated that this additional supply would now be reflected in the financial statements for 2003.

The delay also resulted in a reduction of total support and revenues by the end of last year, which amounted to over $1.8B, as compared to $2.9B in 2001. Cash contributions fell from $118,760,423 in 2001 to $93,483,662 last year, while the agency managed to garner increased profits from fundraising activities, from $5,895,542 in 2001 to $7,164,166 in 2002. Profits garnered from FFTPG's production department also reflected gains - from $6,880,130 in 2001 to $17,283,743 last year - as did other income, moving from $180,612 by the end of 2001 to $678,584 by the end of 2002.

Operating and administrative costs, meanwhile, rose from $63,989,857 to $87,051,741.

The award of food commodities, termed the Food For Progress 2002 Programme, originated from an agreement between the United States Government and Food For the Poor Inc. It was made in an effort to use the food resources of the US in support of countries that have made commitments to introduce or expand free enterprise elements in their agricultural economies. Last year FFTPG, as a recipient of the programme, received 2,500 metric tonnes of foodstuff, comprising textured soy protein (protein chunks), wheat flour, cornmeal, non-fat milk, pinto beans, corn, soy milk and vegetable oil. It was projected that 75,000 children and 60,000 adults benefited from Food For Progress aid last year.

This year, FFTP Inc. has been awarded a USAID grant for Non Fat Dairy Milk and FFTPG is expected to receive 2400 metric tonnes for distribution by July-August.

Chairman of the Board of FFTPG, Paul Chan-A-Sue disclosed that this is specifically for children. Schools and health centres, where underweight pre-school children are identified will be targeted. And to this end he said that the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education have been approached for their assistance in facilitating this project.

Additionally, FFTPG, which is placing emphasis this year on helping the less fortunate to acquire skills, plans to establish a vocational skills programme for 30 teenage school dropouts by the third quarter of this year, Chan-A-Sue said. To this end, FFTPG has acquired the old Guyana Stores Limited building in Festival City. The curriculum for the programme covers elementary mathematics and English as well as sewing, carpentry and cooking.

FFTPG has already given assistance to skills training programmes across the country, particularly sewing groups. One such group is located on the Essequibo Coast, where 200 persons who are involved in a sewing project where bed-sheets, mats, bags and other commodities are produced, have benefited from a donation of sewing machines and fabric.

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