WASHINGTON (APP) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Friday announced plans for $27.5 million in international assistance under US Department of Agricultures Food for Progress Program for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Vilsack made the announcement at a meeting with Pakistans Minister for Food, Agriculture, and Livestock Nazar Muhammad Gondal and Afghanistans Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock Mohammad Asif Rahimi while meeting to identify potential areas of agricultural cooperation and collaboration among the three countries. The commodity donations will benefit an estimated 3 million people in rural areas of both countries. This announcement comes on the heels of trilateral meetings President Obama hosted at the White House with Afghan President Zardari and President Hamid Karzai to bring a new era of stability and prosperity to the Afghan-Pakistan border. In addition to the Food for Progress funding, Vilsack discussed other efforts by the USDA including developing agriculture trade corridors along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan to facilitate trans-border trade; strengthening food security by collaborating on research to improve the production of fruits, nuts, livestock, and other agricultural products and reduce post-harvest loss; improving water and watershed management and irrigation methods; and rehabilitating watersheds to increase crop yields and create jobs. Food for Progress allocations announced today are for roughly 17,400 metric tons of U.S. vegetable oil that will be purchased on the U.S. market and donated by USDA - approximately 10,600 metric tons for Afghanistan and 6,800 metric tons for Pakistan. The commodities will go to the governments in both countries; the vegetable oil will be sold to local agribusinesses. The proceeds from the sale will be used to implement agricultural and rural development projects.