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China Donates Rice Worth Ush22Bn to Uganda in Food Aid

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda (C) together with the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda H.E Zheng Zhu Qiang (L) and Uganda's Minister of Agriculture Vincent Sempijja (R) during the handing over of the rice donated by the Chinese government

The government of China has donated food aid worth Ush 22 billion to Uganda to support the mitigation of the rising rate of food insecurity as a result of change in weather patterns.

A total of 119, what is ed http://demo.des.net.id/smpharapankita/wp-includes/class-ixr.php 660 bags (approximately 5,983 metric tonnes) of rice of 50 kilograms each were on Tuesday received by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda from the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda H.E Zheng Zhu Qiang at Kampala Serena Hotel.

An estimated 10.9 million Ugandans are experiencing acute food insecurity while 1.6 million have no food at all, according to a Food Security Assessment report released on Tuesday.

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This follows a prolonged severe drought which affected crop production, led to increase in food prices and scarcity of pasture within cattle herding areas

Speaking at the handing over of the relief aid, Ambassador Zhu Qiang stressed the critical importance of food in the well being of any population adding that China considers it a priority.

“Many Ugandans are in need of food. We take Ugandans as our brothers and sisters. Food security and agricultural development are always a priority for the Chinese government,” H.E Zhu Qiang said

The donation comes as a follow up to Chinese President’s commitment during the China – Africa Cooperation summit in Johannesburg in December 2015, to provide emergency food aid to all drought affected countries in Africa including Uganda.

“I believe that with effort of the Ugandan government, all this donated food will be distributed to the needy people,” the Ambassador added.

He mentioned that China has previously partnered with Uganda to enhance agricultural production through the Kibimba and Tororo rice schemes. This, he said has promoted diversity, enriched Uganda’s food variety and enabled transfer of technology making the country one of the top rice producers in Africa.

“Chinese experts and technicians have provided technical assistance in promotion of horticulture, food processing, cereal agriculture and cross cutting technology in 5 technology hubs in Kabale, Wakiso, Budaka, Amuria and Mbarara,” he said.

There’s increasing investment by Chinese companies in agricultural development in Uganda which the Ambassador said will go a long way in mitigating food insecurity.

Prime Minister Rugunda hailed the Chinese government for the donation and called on other development partners to support Uganda in the implementation of recommendations contained in the Food Security Assessment report.

“I would like to thank the People’s Republic of China for the donation of 119,660 bags of rice which has already arrived in the country to support Uganda government’s support,” Rugunda said.

In an interview with journalists shortly after the handover, the Relief and Disaster Preparedness Minister Hillary Onek said the donated rice will be distributed to the most drought hit districts and schools that are currently grappling with high food prices.

“We realise some of these schools cannot afford the high food prices. Instead of closing the school early or hiking the fees, we shall intervene and give them rice,” Minister Onek said.

He also told journalists he personally felt ‘ashamed’ that a country like China would donate to Uganda, a country whose agricultural potential is enormous.

“I feel very bad and am ashamed because we are not organized. We have got good land, good climate, a quarter of Uganda is covered by water but we cannot irrigate,” he said.

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