Towards Zero Hunger - Japanese contribution builds resilient communities and nourishes school children
VIENTIANE – The Ambassador of Japan to the Lao PDR, H.E Takeshi Hikihara, today handed over his government’s donation of canned fish and rice to the World Food Programme (WFP). This in-kind contribution is part of Japan’s pledge of US$3.2 million towards WFP’s school meals and resilience building programmes that help communities withstand disasters caused by climate change.
“Japan will work together with the Government of Lao PDR and the international community, including WFP, to steadily expand its support in building the resilience of communities and helping children grow and develop through nutritious school meals,” said Ambassador Hikihara. “Together, we will contribute to the country’s efforts in realizing zero hunger which is an essential, basic requirement for any social and economic development.”
Majority of the 425 metric tons of canned fish will be used to provide school lunches for 100,000 children in rural parts of the country. The children eat a staple of rice and lentils daily, with an addition of local greens and vegetables from school gardens and local communities. Fish is a welcome and nutritious variation to their daily lunch. In addition, 17 metric tons will be distributed to 5,700 villagers affected by the 2018 floods in Attapeu’s Sanamxay district.
The 205 metric tons of rice will help 40 vulnerable communities set up community rice banks in Sekong and Attapeu provinces in southern Laos. These rice banks will allow 20,000 villagers to borrow rice during the lean season to cope with potential food shortages. The rice banks will enhance the resilience of these communities to withstand weather conditions arising due to climate change. Through a partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Lux Development and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Laos, WFP has supported the establishment of 60 community rice banks since 2016.
“Our technical input to help the government address food insecurity and malnutrition among children is just one side of the coin,” said Jan Delbaere, WFP Country Director and Representative. “We are extremely thankful that we can rely on donors, such as the Japanese Government, in this endeavour. The generous, in-kind contribution has made a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable children and their families in the areas of nutrition, education and their ability to withstand the consequences of climate change.”
Japan is a long-term supporter of WFP’s work in Laos. Since 2014, the Japanese Government has provided US$11 million worth of food supplies.
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