Japan Donates $3.2m Rice to Refugees in Uganda

Matia Kasaija (L) with the Japanese ambassador Kazuaki Kameda

The government of Japan, through its food assistance program, has donated $3.2 million worth of rice to refugees in Uganda to help with the food shortage that has affected them this year.

The rice equaling to 5,340 tones will be distributed to over 1.3 million refugees who are currently in over 22 refugee settlements in different parts of Uganda, with the priority given to women and children who are the biggest percentage of this vulnerable population.

At a ceremony held Thursday at the Ministry of Finance Offices to exchange notes between the two countries about the food assistance program, the Ambassador of Japan to Uganda, Kazuaki Kameda, noted that the initiative was in response to a noted influx of refugees from south Sudan and other neighboring countries.

“The World Food Program has announced that the shortfall for food assistance in Uganda by the end of this year will be an estimated $63 million. We therefore found it right to donate rice to assistant in this anonymous need,” Kazuaki said.

He added: “Also reports show that there is food insecurity in Uganda due to drought, irregular precipitation patterns and diseases that have lowed food production and resulted into food shortage and famine. This kind of situation must be even worse for refugees who do not cultivate their own foods and only depend on donations.”

On his part, the Minister of Finance, Matia kasaija thanked the Japanese government for the continuous support to refugees in areas of health, agriculture, education and energy.

He, however, noted that the contribution made today is a drop in the ocean considering the big amount of money that the government of Uganda needs to look after the welfare of the refugees.

“The government of Uganda is contributing over $323 million annually purposely for refugee welfare. However, the estimated budget is close to $2 biilon dollars. We call upon all well-wishers to bring more assistance in so that our brothers and sisters can live a dignified life as we work towards stabilizing the political wars in their areas of origin,” Kasaija said.

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