Program marking the official handover of the Japanese donated rice(10,015MT) to the Government of Liberia(GoL) took place on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at the Freeport of Monrovia.
Officially handing over the Food Aid to the Liberian government on behalf of the Japanese Government, Mr. Shigeru Hamano, said: "It is my pleasure to be here today to hand over approximately 10,000 ton of rice in pursuant to the Exchange of Notes signed between two governments in Novembers 2011." Mr. Hamano, who is the Deputy Chief of Mission, observed that food security is one of the key areas of importance in Liberia.
"To this point, Japan has been providing Food Aid to Liberia both bilaterally and through the World Food Program over years since year 2003, as well as funding the World Bank's West Africa Agricultural Productive Program (WAAPP) in support of the Rice Research and Productive Development Program," the deputy chief of mission stated.
According to him, the advantage of the Japanese Bilateral Food Aid is, not only that the rice is brought by this grant, but also the proceeds of sale will be put into the "Counterpart Fund" and the funds will be utilized rather quickly for further development purposes in Liberia.
"This time we expect about 4 million US dollars to be reserved in the Counterpart Fund. The Counterpart Fund of the previous grant is now being used for the purchase and redistribution of paddy rice, as well as introducing modern farm machineries and appropriate technologies for optimizing rice production over three years." The Japanese diplomat disclosed.
He said the successful implementation of the previous Food Aid has given his country a boost of confidence in providing more Food Aid to Liberia. "He then expressed the hope that the GoL will further strengthen the effective implementation of the grant.
" I sincerely hope that this project will foster stronger friendship between Japan and Liberia," Mr. Hamano concluded.
For her part, Commerce and Industry Minister, Miata Besloye, on behalf of the GoL, thanked the Japanese Government for the donated rice. She assured that the rice would be used for its intended purpose as done in the past.
It can be recalled that the Japanese Government and the Liberian Government in March 2008 signed an Exchange of Note for the first consignment of Food Aid in the tone of 8,617 metric ton of rice for monetization to support social economic development projects in Liberia.
A total of US$ 4 Million was realized and the amount was used to finance the paddy and feed rice project being executed by the Cooperation Development Agency with the Ministry of Agriculture exercising oversight authority.
Also in March 2010, the Governments of Liberia(GOL) and Japan signed another Separate Exchange of Notes for additional consignment of rice in the tone of 19,101 metric tons which the Commerce Ministry says in still being monetized, the Ministry notes that part of that agreement also included mixed petroleum products of 12,404 MT valued at US$ 25 Million and that the proceeds will be used to support Liberia's Social Economic Development.