The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Chinese Government Gives Zimbabwe U.S.$15 Million Grain

Government yesterday received grain worth more than US$15 million from the Chinese government as part of efforts to help disadvantaged communities in Zimbabwe.

The donation - which is the largest amount the Chinese government has ever given to a single country - comprises 9 000 tonnes of wheat and 5 000 tonnes of rice.

The grains will be distributed to needy persons from Zimbabwe's 10 provinces.

Receiving the consignment yesterday at the GMB Norton Depot yesterday, Zimbabwe National Army deputy commander Artillery Brigade Colonel Ratham Moyo said the gesture would go a long way in consolidating relations between the two countries. The grain would be distributed through the ZNA structures.

"We really appreciate this effort. In fact, it buttresses what President Mugabe meant when he said no one would die of hunger (and) this gesture has come in handy," he said.

Col Moyo said the ZNA had been incorporated in the distribution to ensure highest possible levels of transparency in the process.

"At this moment grain is going to be offloaded at various points within the receiving provinces before it is distributed by traditional leaders for they are the ones who know the disadvantaged within their communities.

"Our part in this, as the army, is to provide security and ensure that deserving people are allotted the grain," he said.

He described relations between Zimbabwe and China as progressive.

"This move would go a long way in proving that the Chinese are our all-weather friends and that as a country we accommodate and appreciate only those expressing genuine interest in us," he said.

Economic and commercial counsellor at the Chinese Embassy, Mr Han Bing said the initiative would be a welcome relief to the underprivileged.

"We have received the list of the areas where the grain is to be distributed, across the country's 60 depots.

"We consider Zimbabwe as one of the most important countries in southern Africa and our relations date back to the liberation struggle. We have excellent ties economically and politically as well," he said.

Mr Han said plans to equip Zimbabwe in boosting food reserves were in the pipeline.

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