Equatorial Guinea has donated food to Zimbabwe with the arrival of the second consignment having been received yesterday with two more batches expected later this week. The food aid is part of Equatorial Guinea's efforts in arresting the country's food challenges following a failed agricultural season due to the El Nino-induced drought. Receiving the consignment of food in Harare yesterday, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare principal director Mr Simon Masanga commended Equatorial Guinea's efforts to relieve the country's drought hit areas.
"We have since received food aid from Equatorial Guinea and we will continue to receive more. Because of the El Nino-induced drought that we experienced in the past agricultural season, organisations and countries are responding to the call on drought relief," he said.
"This is the second consignment from Equatorial Guinea, the first one arrived on Thursday where we had 20 tonnes of tubers and bananas that is meant for distribution to drought-hit areas and we are mainly focusing on the eight rural provinces of this country minus Bulawayo and Harare metropolitan."
Mr Masanga said the ministry had put in place measures to ensure everyone benefits from the food relief donations. "We will distribute these food stuffs through our provincial and district drought relief committees," he said.
"This consignment consists of rice, cooking oil, tinned foods and a number of foodstuffs which is a total of almost 11 tonnes. We will consult our authorities on how best this can be distributed so that we can cover as much ground as possible."
He said the value of the food aid was greatly substantial, although it was still in francs therefore the ministry was yet to reveal exactly how much the donation was worth in US dollars.
"The first consignment was received a day earlier and we hope in the next two or three days, we receive the next consignments," he said.
"We are expecting four consignments and it is important to note that the first consignment consisted mainly of tubers and bananas which is the staple food in Equatorial Guinea and to them this is an important donation because they are able to contribute what they have on a daily basis to Zimbabwe."
Mr Masanga said African countries should continuously support each other in mitigating the impact of drought.
"We know eating habits differ from country to country, but we should appreciate that a fellow African country has decided to donate their staple food and to us it is important," he said.
"European countries have also been playing their role through the European Union and other international organisations, but this donation is specifically relevant and important considering that no other African country has since donated to us making this one of the first. It ought to be appreciated."
Earlier this year Government revealed that the number of people in need of food aid had ballooned to four million as it moved in to tighten its food deficit mitigation programmes to ensure that no one succumbed to hunger.