Japanese govt donates $2,9m for food relief

The Japanese government has extended a $2,9 million grant to provide food relief to thousands of villagers affected by the current drought which has ravaged most parts of Zimbabwe.

Source: Japanese govt donates $2,9m for food relief – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 14, 2016

By Phyllis Mbanje

The food, which is being administered through the World Food Programme (WFP), is being distributed to needy people in Zvishavane, which was identified as one of the 20 worst-affected districts in the country.

According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability and Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) 2016, the district is facing massive household food insecurity.

Japan’s support was in response to Zimbabwe’s “2016-2017 Drought Disaster Domestic and International Appeal for Assistance”. The plea was issued by the government in the wake of crop write-offs and low yields in some districts due to the El-Nino-induced drought.

The food crisis featured in talks at a bilateral summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Robert Mugabe in Japan in March this year.

Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Yoshinori Tendai Hiraishi will today visit Zvishavane to witness food distribution there.

He is expected to be joined by Minister of State for Midlands province, Jason Machaya, WFP country director Eddie Rowe as well as senior government and council officials.

“Our common objective is to free people from dependency on free donations of food, but rather to give them the means to sustainably produce their own so as to mitigate against unforeseen shocks,” Hiraishi said.

Two-thousand households in Zvishavane access monthly food distributions over a six-month period.

WFP, through its resident implementing NGO partner, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, is undertaking a Productive Assets Creation programme in the district whereby beneficiaries carry out meaningful “Food for Assets” activities and are compensated with WFP’s carefully selected food basket.

“These productive assets must contribute to long-term development goals, including local food security,” the Japanese embassy in Harare said in a statement.

“In this case, the local beneficiary community is rehabilitating Bhayu Weir as well as a dip tank. Work is ongoing and on completion, the weir will be used to irrigate nutrition gardens in the surrounding fields to supplement their diets as more long-term interventions. Local livestock that continues to take a heavy toll through lack of pasture and access to water will also benefit from the weir.”