Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
MAPUTO – The Government of Japan has confirmed a contribution of US$400,000 to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Mozambique. The funds will be used to strengthen WFP's local procurement and enable the establishment of a home-grown school feeding programme in the country.
Japan's contribution will help smallholder farmers increase productivity, produce better-quality crops and limit vulnerability to post-harvest losses as well as boosting the capacity of local education authorities.
"WFP's activities are vital in increasing the capacity of smallholder farmers and in establishing school feeding as the primary means to improve food security and nutrition," says the Ambassador of Japan in Mozambique, Eiji Hashimoto. "This will help improve the educational performance of vulnerable children and give them a brighter future."
Currently benefiting from the WFP-assisted school feeding programme are 74,500 students as well as 2,000 teachers and voluntary cooks in 175 primary schools in two food-insecure districts of Tete province. Every day, the children receive a hot meal made with fortified maize meal, beans, vegetable oil enriched with vitamin A and iodized salt. All commodities are purchased locally and, where possible, from smallholder farmers' organizations.
WFP is also supporting the Government of Mozambique with procurement arrangements for 12 schools in Nampula, Tete, Manica and Gaza provinces which have some 13,500 students.
"Japan's contribution comes at a critical moment in the establishment of a national school feeding programme and this is something that WFP is committed to," says WFP Country Director Abdoulaye Baldé.
The Government of Japan has been funding food assistance to developing countries since 1968.
# # #
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.
Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media
For more information please contact: Abdoulaye Baldé (E-mail: email@example.com); Jerónimo Tovela (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Telemóvel: +258823185960)