Signing for the United States was Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman and for Georgia, Minister of Agriculture and Food David Kirvalidze. Georgia borders the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia.

"This donation of U.S. wheat helps meet the needs of Georgia's people at a time of reduced regional supplies, while also supporting that government's commitment to more market-oriented agricultural and economic development," Veneman said. "We are pleased that we can offer this assistance to Georgia."

The U.S. wheat donated to the government of Georgia will be sold locally to meet urgent needs in the marketplace. Flour mills, bakeries and other firms will use the wheat to increase local supplies of bread and other wheat-based products. Georgia is a net importer of wheat. The donated wheat is expected to depart U.S. ports next month for October delivery.

Proceeds from the wheat sales will be used by the government of Georgia for projects in areas such as private agribusiness and market development, credit programs, water use, animal husbandry, rural extension, and the development and enforcement of food safety policies.

The signing of the agreement followed a meeting between Veneman and Kirvalidze. In June of this year, Kirvalidze participated as a speaker in the Ministerial Conference on Agricultural Science and Technology hosted by USDA in Sacramento.

The donation will be made under USDA's Food for Progress program, administered by the Foreign Agricultural Service. The Food for Progress program provides for USDA donations of agricultural commodities to needy countries to encourage economic or agricultural reforms that foster free enterprise.

For more information about this program, visit http://www.fas.usda.gov.

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