HARARE – The Japanese government is working on a rescue package for Zimbabwe to help feed millions of villagers who face a critical food shortage owing to the El Nino-induced drought that has affected the whole of the Southern African region.
This was revealed by the Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Yoshi Tendai Hiraishi, in Harare on Monday while briefing journalists after meeting with the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Priscah Mupfumira.
“I think Japan will be among those well–wishers (who will assist Zimbabwe with food aid). My government is still considering what they will do to give to Zimbabwe on the drought issue and I am hopeful that we will hear some positive news from Japan in the near future,” he said.
Hiraishi said Japan had alread put $15 million into an irrigation project in Manicaland province as part of the long-term solution to the food crisis in the country.
“The money put into projects varied with the projects, we are putting 38.1 billion yen annually. We have also given Zimbabwe a $4 million grant aid and $15 million for an irrigation project in Manicaland which began in 2015 and is expected to be completed in 2018.”
He said Japan was also considering upping its aid to Zimbabwe, adding that the bilateral relations between the two countries should continue.
Mupfumira said the Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was funding several projects countrywide and running over a number of years.
“The projects include human capacity development and some projects which cover a number of sectors. The Ministry is heavily involved in the drought mitigation programme caused by the El Nino phenomenon and when his Excellency (President Mugabe) visited Japan earlier this year some of the issues discussed included capacity building and also the issue of drought mitigation and we are saying irrigation is a another way of managing drought and Japan has been involved in such projects,” she said.
She said the Japanese were also involved in the drilling of boreholes in the drought-stricken areas such as Binga as part of their drought mitigation strategies.
“We have had presentations from the JICA officials on the programmes which they are running in Zimbabwe, they are cross cutting from Agriculture, Energy, and Human Resource development so there are a lot of projects which are going on and the numbers of Zimbabweans going to Japan for capacity building in the various areas of cooperation are impressive,” she said.
Africa News Agency