THE government of Egypt has donated 134 metric tonnes of mahangu grain to the Office of the Prime Minister's Disaster Risk Management Directorate.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in the capital on Monday, Egypt's ambassador to Namibia, Abdelaziz Abdelwareth said the donation follows president Hage Geingob's state of emergency announcement on the ongoing drought in the country.
"After hearing that the Namibian government needed assistance, Cairo was informed, and they took the immediate decision to support our brothers and sisters in Namibia," he stated.
He explained that the reason why the assistance could only be finalised in July and not earlier was due to Egypt's financial year, which ended in June 2019.
The ambassador said his government committed to assist the government of Namibia with 1 million Egyptian pounds (about N$890 000) worth of food supplies.
"So, once the government committed, I started discussing with the Directorate of Disaster Risk Management in the Office of the Prime Minister with the coordination of the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, and I was advised that we can buy mahangu grains," he explained.
In that regard, Abdelwareth said, his embassy then bought 134 metric tonnes of mahangu from the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (Amta).
"The government of Egypt made sure that we buy from the local market, so the whole money will be given to the producers, and the grains will be given to the affected communities," he noted.
Receiving the donation, deputy prime minister and minister of international relations and cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah acknowledged the donation, and thanked the government of Egypt.
"This is very important, and should be highlighted that the government of Egypt gave the donation in monetary terms, and then they decided that the money should remain in the country, hence the mahangu was bought in Namibia," she stated.
Nandi-Ndaitwah also appealed to the Namibian public to express solidarity towards each other, adding that she was disheartened when she heard the governor of the Erongo region talking about some people selling the fodder given by the government to assist drought-affected farmers.
"Why do we have to do that? I'm happy that up to now, I have not heard anything went wrong in as far as food is concerned, and would want that to be maintained. Let the food be given to those in need," she pleaded. According to the latest assessment from the Office of the Prime Minister, 289 644 households are affected by the drought, and this figure may increase as time goes on, Nandi-Ndaitwah said. - Nampa