Rs 233.1m Japanese food aid for Nepal

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 10:

Japan has extended a grant assistance of Rs 233.1 million (approximately $3,323,000) to Nepal for Food Aid (KR) from its resources for the Japanese fiscal year 2004-05.

Tsutomu Hiraoka, ambassador of Japan to Nepal, and Bhanu Prasad Acharya, secretary of the ministry of finance signed and exchanged notes today on behalf of their respective governments. The assistance has been 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 Nepal.

Under the agreement, the government of Nepal however will have to deposit a specified amount of money in Nepali currency in a bank as a counterpart fund of KR after the utilisation of the grant. The deposited amount shall be utilised for the purpose of economic and social development, including food production in Nepal, with prior consultation between the two governments, states a press release issued here today.

Japan, being a close friend and development partner, has been providing Food Aid to Nepal since 1970. During Japan’s fiscal year 2003, a grant assistance of Rs 227.85 million was provided to Nepal to procure rice.

A total of 9,700 metric tonnes of rice procured under Food Aid-2003 has already arrived in Birgunj from Japan, and is now being delivered to food deficit areas in hilly and mountainous regions of Nepal.

On the occasion, Hiraoka expressed his sincere hope that the continued support of the government of Japan to the government of Nepal in its development efforts will help in increasing socio-economic development in Nepal as well as enhancing the well-being of the Nepali people.

He further added that the Food Aid signifies the wishes of the government of Japan and its people to help in the way they can to address the problems and suffering of the people of Nepal. “The government of Japan wishes to see further improvement in the fundamental rights’ situation in Nepal, including the release of detained political leaders,” he said.

Hiraoka also expressed his sincere hope that the assistance will serve as a milestone in further strengthening the friendly relations between Japan and Nepal.

Out of the 75 districts in Nepal, 44 districts, particularly in the mountain and remote areas are said to be suffering from food shortages.