Monrovia — The Government of Liberia has expressed deep appreciation to the Government and The People of Japan for the turning over of US$2 million worth of KR Food Aid 2020 donated rice to the Government of Liberia.
Expressing gratitude to the Government and People of Japan, Liberia's Foreign Minister H.E. Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., on behalf of the Liberian Government praised the Japanese government for turning over US$2 million worth of 30Kg donated rice to the Government of Liberia.
Minister Kemayah noted that the 30Kg KR rice which is to be sold on the Liberian market will go a long way in enhancing Japanese-funded projects in Liberia.
Minister Kemayah said the donation came as a result of a bilateral negotiation between the Governments of Liberia and Japan.
Foreign Minister Kemayah assured the Japanese Ambassador Mochizuki Hisanobu that the rice will be sold and the proceeds use as a counterpart value fund to finance Japanese sponsored projects in Liberia.
Minister Kemayah intoned that the Government of Liberia is delighted by the gesture from the Government and the People of Japan, adding that as part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' responsibility, his administration will continue to assist President George Manneh Weah in soliciting bilateral assistance to enhance the government's Pro-Poor Agenda.
"We are proud to say that Liberia has maintained the integrity of the monetization of the KR Rice, and we will continue to do so to fully accelerate our national development agenda," Minister Kemayah noted.
Minister Kemayah said the Government of Liberia has undertaken numerous and tangible development projects using the sale proceeds of these grant commodities, with the approval of the Government of Japan.
He disclosed that the Japanese Counterpart Value-Funded Projects are ranging from the construction of roads, local housing units, market buildings, warehouses, bridges, among others, for which the government of Liberia remains "very grateful" to the Government and People of Japan for their continued support towards Liberia's economic recovery efforts.
Speaking at the turning over ceremony of the KR food aid on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Kemayah mentioned that these social economic infrastructures are geared toward jobs creation, income generation and sustainable livelihood beyond just food aid.
The Dean of the Cabinet said, in close consultation with the Japanese Counterpart Value Fund Secretariat, the government of Liberia has identified key future funding projects for the utilization of the sale proceeds from the Japanese KR Food Aids.
Minister Kemayah added that it includes the construction of a modern wood workshop between Bong and Nimba Counties; and the construction of a large market building in Foya District, Lofa County.
For his part, the Ambassador of Japan to Liberia, Mr. Mochizuki Hisanobu said while in Liberia he turned over food assistance for FY2023 which was value at US$2 million.
Ambassador Hisanobu said in 2008 the Government of Liberia entered into a bilateral agreement with the Government of Japan to address food security challenges in Liberia, noting that since then, the Government of Japan has been providing rice to Liberia through the Kennedy Round (KR) Food Assistance to be sold at a minimum cost in an effort to alleviate hunger in Liberia.
Ambassador Hisanobu intoned that the Food Assistance program is important from the viewpoint that it shares objectives that are consistent with promoting the concept of human security, adding that human security, which Japan has been advocating on the world stage, is a concept that pursues the right of individuals to live happily and in dignity, free from fear and want, through their protection and empowerment.
In support of the Japanese Counterpart value-funded projects in Liberia, the Government of Japan has committed itself to providing food assistance to Liberia with focus to alleviate hunger in the Country, noting that this donation came at right time when the Ukraine and Russia war is causing the prices of food on the world market to skyrocket.
The Japanese Ambassador said the Food Assistance Program has been one of the sustainable means of raising revenue through the Counterpart Value Fund to tackle the Government of Liberia's pro-poor developmental initiatives and also address cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of the people.