WFP hails Japan for $4.2 million food donation

The United Nations World Food Programme has hailed Japan for contributing $4.2 million to boost food and nutrition security among some of the poorest families in Zimbabwe.

The appreciation was expressed in Masvingo following the Japanese grant aimed at helping some 2.2 million people survive severe food insecurity ahead of this year’s main harvests starting in March.

WFP recently bemoaned poor funding in its interventions designed to help vulnerable communities facing extreme hunger following last year’s poor harvests.

WFP Country Director Sory Ouane said: “This contribution is important to WFP since it comes at a time our operation in Zimbabwe is facing a considerable funding shortage.”

Japan’s donation was in response to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee Rural Livelihoods Report of 2013, which indicated that some 2.2 million people could fail to feed themselves during the last three months before the 2013/2014 crop harvest.

The Japanese contribution would help fund WFP initiatives including current programmes to assist vulnerable rural families until the next harvest.

Malnourished HIV/TB patients, women and children are also among the beneficiaries.

Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Tongai Muzenda expressed gratitude at the support given by Japan to needy Zimbabweans.

“We thank Japan for its support towards Zimbabwe, The support would go a long way towards complementing government efforts to meet the needs of the most vulnerable,” said Muzenda.

WFP and its partners are currently assisting some 1.2 million vulnerable poor people through food distributions and cash transfers.

Ambassador Fukuda described the donation as reaffirmation of Japan’s preparedness to support crucial interventions not only for ensuring human security, but also to meet basic human needs such as adequate nutrition.

“Our support is designed to sustain the most vulnerable so as to provide fulfilling lives,” Fukuda said.

WFP requires $800 million to implement its operations for the next six months in Zimbabwe, of which $60 million is yet to be raised.

Japan has been funding food assistance to developing countries since 1968, with some $35 million channelled towards WFP’s operations in Zimbabwe.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide and on average reaches more than 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries each year.

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