The Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe has handed over some 5,500 tonnes of rice to drought-hit Zimbabwe as fulfilment of a pledge made by the Chinese president Xi Jinping in December last year.
The donation is to help the southern African country alleviate hunger after a drought that has left up to 4 million Zimbabweans in need of food aid.
“Today’s event again testifies the strong ties between China and Zimbabwe as all-weather partners, especially in the area of food security and agriculture,” Huang Ping said at the event.
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Thursday’s donation is the first consignment of a total of 19,000 tonnes worth 24.6 million US dollars promised by the Chinese government to Zimbabwe on the sidelines of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in South Africa.
The Asian giant also disclosed further food aid efforts to help Zimbabwe to ensure national food security. China has promised to donate 10,000 tonnes of urea fertilizer to benefit farmers who will take part in a government maize production scheme targeting to produce 2 million tonnes of maize.
On her part, Zimbabwean Minister of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare Prisca Mupfumira, who received the rice on behalf of government, thanked China for the donation. She said the rice would be distributed to vulnerable groups who include orphans and the elderly.
“The Government of Zimbabwe is indeed grateful for your donation as this will go a long way in alleviating food shortages among vulnerable groups,” the minister said.
President Robert Mugabe recently dismissed news that the ruling Zanu-PF was misusing food aid given to the country.
According to the country’s human rights commission, Zanu-PF has been withholding aid to opposition supporters. The commission further said there was indeed discrimination and exclusion of certain citizens in the distribution of food aid.