Maputo — The Japanese government on Monday in Maputo donated 12,000 tonnes of rice to Mozambique valued at 630 million yen (6.9 million US dollars). The donation is part of an initiative to promote food security.
The charge d'affairs of the Japanese Embassy in Mozambique, Keiji Hamada, formally handed over the donation to the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Kenneth Marizane.
Speaking during the ceremony, Marizane explained that “Mozambique is still struggling with a shortfall in domestic production for rice and wheat, which currently stands at about 250,000 tonnes of rice and 357,000 tonnes of wheat. This may increase as a result of the current flooding of farmland due to the persistent rains in the country”.
In view of the country’s shortfall in cereal production, Marizane stated that “we would like this initiative to continue, taking into account the implementation of the government’s Strategic Plan for the Development of the Agricultural Sector (2011-2020) - particularly the programme for the rehabilitation and construction of irrigation schemes covering an area of about 79,650 hectares.
With the expansion of cultivated land Mozambique could produce about 1.5 million tonnes of rice by the year 2020”.
The donation will be distributed nationwide, with 4,650 tonnes of rice to be sold in the southern region of Mozambique and the rest being shared equally among the other provinces.
The rice will be sold through commercial channels with the government using the funds raised to help finance economic and social development projects, such as roads and bridges, for the well-being of the Mozambican population.
Hamada pointed out that “this donation of rice will not only help in the fight against food insecurity, but will also help to strengthen trade and economic activities”.
Between 1998 and 2011 the Japanese government donated 137,630 tonnes of rice and 29,658 tonnes of wheat to Mozambique.