by Ronald Ssekandi
KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) --
The Chinese government donated over 5,900 tonnes
of rice to Ugandan on Tuesday as the East African country warned
of food insecurity amid the prolonged dry spell.
Zhuqiang, Chinese ambassador to Uganda, said China has been
concerned about the poor harvest in many African countries
"I believe that with the effort of the Ugandan government,
all these donated food will be distributed to the people very
soon," he said.
According to a new report National Food Security Assessment,
launched by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, 26 percent of
Uganda’s population is facing stressed food insecurity, meaning
they just have enough food and are unable to afford some
essential food expenditures.
It also showed that 10.9 million people in the country are
experiencing acute food insecurity, of which 1.6 million are in
a crisis situation.
"Food security across the country is deteriorating.
"The current food insecurity situation, when compared with
the last two reports of November 2015 and July 2016, shows an
increase in the percentage of the country’s population that is
in Phase 2 (stress level of food security)," the report said.
It said the increasing demand for food in external markets
and the influx of South Sudanese refugees into Uganda have
worsened the situation.
Rugunda extended his gratitude to the Chinese government for
the humanitarian support and said his government had earmarked
25 billion shillings (7.1 million U.S. dollars) to purchase
relief food for the food-stressed population.
The rice donation to Uganda is part of the humanitarian
relief China has been donating to Africa.
China in December 2015 promised to provide 1 billion yuan
(about 150 million U.S. dollars) of emergency food aid to
African countries affected by poor harvest caused by El Nino.
Last year, China donated rice worth 24.6 million dollars to
Zimbabwe to help alleviate hunger after a drought that had left
up to 4 million people there in need of relief food.
Donations have also been made to Malawi, Mozambique and South
Sudan to help the countries cope with drought.
China over the years has provided agricultural aid to Uganda
especially in the rice sector which has helped the country
become a major rice producer in Africa.