Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 2:

The government of Japan has provided 9,700 metric tonnes (MT) of rice to Nepal under a grant assistance of Rs 227.85 million. Tsutomu Hiraoka, ambassador of Japan to Nepal, handed over the rice received under Japan’s Food Aid (KR) to Nepal procured under Japan’s fiscal year 2003 at a function organised today at the premises of Nepal Food Corporation.

The assistance was provided with the basic objective of enabling the government of Nepal to procure rice and supply it to the needy population living in the food deficit districts of the country, states a press release issued by Japanese embassy, Kathmandu. A total of 9,700 MT of rice procured under Food Aid 2003, safely arrived from Japan in December last year. Out of this, 45 per cent, 25 per cent and 15 per cent each have already been transported to Kathmandu, Birgunj, Nepalgunj and Surkhet respectively. Nepal Food Corporation will be responsible for the transportation of rice from these places, to the food deficit areas in the hilly and mountainous regions of Nepal.

As a dedicated development partner and close friend of Nepal, Japan has been providing Food Aid since 1970. As of Japan’s fiscal year 2003, the government of Japan has extended its Food Aid to Nepal 16 times, that includes more than 65,000 MT of rice and more than 24,000 MT of wheat, adds the release. Upon the request of the government of Nepal, the government of Japan has already committed to provide a grant assistance of Rs 233.10 million as food aid in Japan’s fiscal year 2004 to Nepal for procuring rice. Hiraoka expressed hope that rice handed over to Nepal today will help Nepal to ease the problem of food shortages in the country; ultimately benefiting the needy population living in the mountain and remote areas. He also expressed his sincere hope that the assistance would serve as a milestone in further strengthening the friendly relations between Japan and Nepal.