Maputo — The World Food Programme (WFP) needs between eight and ten million US dollars to maintain until December its food aid programme in Mozambique, which assists half a million people.
WFP representative Lola de Castro told the Maputo paper "Noticias", "let us try to buy now at harvest time when there is a surplus in the north of the country. This will also help farmers marketing their produce. Some districts in Tete have had a good harvest this year. It is places like these where we are trying to buy produce for distribution in the coming months".
WFP is involved in food for work programmes directed at the rehabilitation of rural infrastructure, drainage, and agricultural systems.
According to Lola de Castro, food security is improving and the expectation is that there will be more food next season. She said, "The latest report of the Technical Secretariat of Food Security and Nutrition was published in February and indicated that about 450,000 people were affected by drought and floods. A team has now made an on the ground assessment, and we hope for an updated report in mid-September. We think that the number of people in need of assistance will decline, because the rains came - although it is true that they were late".
She also stated that a hundred thousand people we suffering from the double problem of drought and floods, but the situation is now somewhat better, despite continuing problems in some small areas.
According to Lola de Castro, the problems in Mozambique cannot be compared to an emergency. "The use of food in Mozambique is a little different from in an emergency. We are using food for the rehabilitation of the sick. We hope for more donations to build up stocks that will be necessary for the nutritional rehabilitation of people with HIV and for our food for work programmes. Nevertheless, there is no emergency - no drought or floods. But even when we work with the INGC and with the Government in an emergency, these foods for work programmes continue".
The World Food Programme will help a total of 129,000 people in response to the devastating effects of drought and floods in recent months. This assistance was possible through a donation of 1.5 million US dollars by the Japanese government.
According to the WFP, the Japanese contribution allowed it to buy over two thousand tons of food - mainly cereals, soya and beans - produced locally in a strategy aimed at encouraging local production.
The WFP gave special thanks to the Japanese government for its help in providing support for orphans and people living with HIV.