THE World Food Programme (WFP) has received $1,5 million from Japan to assist vulnerable communities in Zvishavane and Mwenezi develop assets to improve livelihoods and ensure food security as most parts of the country are under threat of hunger.
BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
The intervention followed President Robert Mugabe’s recent meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Asian country during the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
WFP country director for Zimbabwe Sory Ouane said Japan’s intervention had come at a crucial time as it would hedge vulnerable communities.
“Japan’s contribution comes at a critical time. Not only will it help us meet people’s immediate needs, but it will enable us to provide vulnerable people with the means to work their way out of food insecurity and build a future free from hunger,” she said.
Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe Yoshinobu Hiraishi said his country’s intervention was meant to help deal with food insecurity in parts of the country.
“We hope it will go a long way in helping bridge current food gaps as well as strengthening people’s resilience against future food shocks,” he said.
Under WFP’s Productive Asset Creation programme scheduled to begin in May, community members are given either food or cash while they work on irrigation or water-harvesting schemes that will give them an income as well as the resources to better withstand shocks associated with climate change.
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Since 2012, WFP has helped create nearly 1 000 community assets including irrigation schemes, fish ponds and animal health centres in over 25 rural districts.
The Japanese government is one of the largest donors in Zimbabwe. It has provided more than $43 million of humanitarian and development assistance since 2010.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency and assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries every year.
The country is set to import over 1 million tonnes of maize at over $200 million to avert hunger in most parts of the country following a disastrous 2014/2015 summer cropping season, with Cabinet having already authorised the ministries of Agriculture and Finance to make contingent plans so that people in areas worst hit by the drought have food until around April 2016.