Zimbabwe has received 20 000 tonnes of maize from Japan through the World Food Programme to help meet the essential food security needs of vulnerable households before the large harvest, expected from the current crop.
There are around 7,7 million people who need food under the Food Deficit Mitigation Strategy (FDMS) programme, but the number is expected to decrease sharply when the 2,5 million to 2,8 million tonnes of maize expected at the end of the present season are harvested.
The WFP procured the maize from South Africa and delivered it directly to Grain Marketing Board depots in Harare and Bulawayo.
Public Service, Labour and Social Minister Professor Paul Mavima said the gesture will complement Government efforts in ensuring food security to vulnerable households.
“This came against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic which caused depletion of the sources of livelihoods of our populace, hence exacerbating their food insecurity.
‘‘Therefore, the Government appreciates the efforts by our all-weather friend WFP and its cooperating partners in ensuring zero tolerance to hunger,” said Prof Mavima.
Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Satoshi Tanaka said Japan provided the donation given the challenges being faced by some citizens. “I hope that, through WFP and FDMS, it will reach the most vulnerable households as soon as possible so that they can meet their basic needs,” he said.
WFP country representative and director, Ms Francesca Erdelmann, said the organisation looks forward to continuing to work closely with Government to support and complement its efforts to improve food security in Zimbabwe and strive towards zero hunger by 2030.
In June last year, Japan donated 30 000 tonnes of maize to assist vulnerable communities.
Japan’s previous support to vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe through WFP has provided food assistance while at the same time strengthening community resilience through the creation of productive assets, such as weir dams and nutrition gardens.
It has also provided much-needed nutritional support to expectant mothers at maternity waiting homes across the country.
Japan has also extended a US$21 million grant to Government to widen the steep gradients on the Makuti-Chirundu section of the North-South corridor.
The project is already underway and on completion will not only see a better road but also a reduction in road accidents.