Russia provides US$1,5m food cushion
Nesia Mhaka Herald Reporter
Government has received US$1,5 million from the Russian Federation for the provision of food and other humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people in marginalised areas.
The funding is expected to ensure that more than 100 000 rural Zimbabweans in Zvishavane, Nkayi and Hwange have access to adequate food supplies until the next harvest.
The Russian Federation has been supporting Zimbabwe with food aid and other humanitarian assistance since 2008.
Speaking during the handover of the donated goods at WFP warehouse in Harare yesterday, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Zimbabwe, Mr Nikolai Krasilnikov, said Russia will always be available to assist Zimbabweans.
He hailed the donation as a genuine gesture between two friendly countries, from the people of Russia to the people of Zimbabwe.
“From the Russian side it is being reinforced with the investment projects and other forms of cooperation based on the deeply rooted relations of the friendship and solidarity between Russia and Zimbabwe.
“On aggregate this assistance is to benefit the Second Republic in its sustainable socio-economic development,” said Ambassador Krasilnikov.
Ambassador Krasilnikovv said that funds will allow WFP to continue implementing activities aimed at improving rural livelihoods and food productivity for communities in Zimbabwe.
“Food systems Zimbabwe are extremely vulnerable to climate fluctuations, and these funds will allow WFP to assist vulnerable people with humanitarian aid.
“WFP is encouraged to continue working closely with smallholder farmers and poor rural communities to build their resilience and improve farming practices,” he said.
Speaking at the same event WFP Country Representative and director Mr Eddie Rowe said the organisation seeks to provide more than four million people with humanitarian assistance.
He added that more funding was still required to meet the targeted number of people who needed assistance.
“The Russian Federation’s contribution comes in the wake of a plea for funds by WFP, which is working to provide 4,1 million people in Zimbabwe with emergency food assistance amid the country’s current (food-deficit) situation. Yet more than US$104 million is still required for WFP to provide people with life-saving food aid during the peak of this year’s lean season.
“WFP’s top priority is to meet urgent humanitarian needs for millions of hungry Zimbabweans. With this generous contribution from the Russian Federation, we have been able to purchase over 1 000 metric tonnes of food to support some of the most vulnerable people in the worst-hit areas of the country,” said Mr Rowe
Ministry of Public Services and Social Welfare director Mr Erasmus Gapara who received the goods on behalf of the Government, thanked the Russian government for the gesture saying it will go a long way in providing relief to the drought-affected areas
Mr Gapara said Russia was Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend since the liberation struggle.
“The friendship you (Russia) have displayed through this gesture is very much appreciated. Russia, is our all-weather friend that has been supporting us since the days of our liberation struggle,” he said.