KAMPALA: The Chinese government has today handed over 6,000 metric tonnes of food aid – rice – to the Ugandan government.
Handing over the food at the World Food Program warehouse in Nalukolongo, the Chinese ambassador to Uganda, Zheng ZhuQiang said the food is to support more than 200,000 people; mostly in school children, along with infants and women threatened by malnutrition, in the Karamoja region in North Eastern Uganda.
He added that China will ensure that 130,000 students in over 290 schools in Karamoja have access to food and education.
“Through this grant, WFP has been able to reinstate provide two meals to over 130,000 school children in primary and secondary schools in all seven districts of Karamoja. Findings show that this has encouraged students to come and stay in school,” said Zheng ZhuQiang.
He further revealed that part of the contribution targets over 48,500 children aged 6-59 months, pregnant and lactating women and malnourished adults within Karamoja region.
“With this contribution, the programme is providing specialised nutritious food to boost nutrition and health of over 48,000 pregnant and lactating women as well as children under 2 to prevent stunting.”
Receiving the aid on behalf of Uganda was Minister for Karamoja Affairs, John Byabagambi and State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Musa Ecweru.
Commenting on the aid, he thanked the Chinese government for helping Uganda fight what he called the effects of Climate change.
“Climate change is real and developing countries are seriously paying the price. A few months back when we had a long dry spell, the Chinese government came to our help with food aid. As we were trying to recover from this, now our people are being hit by disasters like mudslides. When I talked to my colleagues in cabinet recently, they advised me to seek help from our friends. When I wrote to the Chinese Minister, they never scrutinised us about our Human Rights record or anything. They just gave us. I hope even other partners start doing the same.”
This is not the first time the Chinese government has given aid to Uganda. It has always given aid to Uganda including material aid such as anti-malerial drugs, office furniture, medical supplies, technical assistance, complete projects such as the China-Uganda friendship Hospital, Government office building among other things.
Commenting on the food aid, WFP Uganda representative and country director, El-Khidir Daloum said, “WFP is extremely grateful for this very generous and timely contribution from China. It comes at a time when we face major funding shortages, which last year led us to reduce critical assistance in Uganda’s most food insecure region”.