The government of Japan has pledged to provide food aid worth about N$50 million in support of the Namibian government's efforts in tackling hardship caused by the prolonged drought and Covid-19 pandemic. On Monday, Japan ambassador to Namibia Harada Hideaki and deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah signed a grant agreement for food aid by the government of Japan. The donation includes 3 000 tons of Japanese rice valued at N$50 million.
In addition to this emergency food aid, Japan has started implementing a technical cooperation project in the northern regions, which aims to increase food production. The project aims to improve the livelihood of small-scale farmers through diversification of agricultural and farm products, to provide skill training, and to facilitate farmers' access to markets.
Ambassador Harada emphasised that the motto of Japan's policy towards Africa is 'Respect Africa's ownership, support in the spirit of partnership'.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Namibia and Japan 31 years ago, cooperation between the two countries has grown from strength to strength. In 2020, an exchange of notes was signed with Japan on the provision for medical equipment to help in the fight against the coronavirus.
Another signing ceremony took place for the provision of vocational training equipment supported by the government of Japan under the economic and social development programme and a memorandum of understanding in the field of sports was signed on 28 October 2020.
"Japan is among the countries that continue to be with us in difficult situations, be it drought and health pandemic. Therefore, the assistance offered has made and will continue to make a difference in the lives of many Namibians," she applauded.
Nandi-Ndaitwah noted this donation comes at the right time when many Namibians are still struggling with the impacts of the Covid-19 virus. Similarly, she said while some parts of Namibia may have received good rains, there are some areas where food would be a challenge.
"Having said that, the assistance you gave will be directed towards those who need it most through the Office of the Prime Minister's Disaster Management Unit," she added.