The Ambassador of Japan to the Lao PDR, Takeshi Hikihara on Jun 7 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.
Ambassador Hikihara said that Japan will not be working along with the Lao PDR government and the international community, as well as WFP, for steadily expanding its support to build the resilience of communities and assisting children to grow and develop via nutritious school meals.
Majority of the 425 metric tonnes 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 tonnes will be distributed to 5,700 villagers affected by the 2018 floods in Attapeu’s Sanamxay district.
The 205 metric tonnes 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.
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.