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WFP, China support efforts to strengthen food security in Lesotho

Nov. 16, 2020 3 min read

3 min read

THE World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a short in the arm from the People’s Republic of China that has provided consistent and nutritious meals to at least 36 000 vulnerable people in different parts of the country.

This invaluable contribution was a response to a call to help four in every 10 people in Lesotho who experience food insecurity as food production continues to decline for a third consecutive year whilst food prices have skyrocketed due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

With assistance from the Chinese government, the WFP has already procured and delivered highly nutritious food to over 18 000 pregnant and breast-feeding women in Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing and Qacha’s Nek.

The aim was to improve the nutritional health of these mothers and their children.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony that was held in Maseru on November 12, the Economic and Commercial Councillor of the Chinese Embassy Ma Guoliang, said through their partnership with WFP, China supports efforts by the government of Lesotho in providing adequate food to vulnerable Basotho across the country.

Through the partnership, he said they ensure that the vulnerable communities remain healthy and meet their basic food needs.

Mr Guoliang said Lesotho faces even more serious shortage of food exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, admitting that they have an inherent task to combat the virus while stabilising the economy and protecting people’s livelihoods.

“We must mobilize necessary resources, stick together in collaboration, and do whatever it takes to protect people’s lives and health as well as minimise the fallout of COVID-19,” he added.

For her part, WFP country director and representative in Lesotho Aurore Rusiga said this contribution came at a critical time when WFP is appealing for more resources to respond to increasing needs in the country.

She said it will help the most vulnerable Basotho children to have a nutritious meal.

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Ms Rusiga noted: “The support from China is an invaluable investment in the next generation and the country’s overall development.”

 WFP has been supporting the Ministry of Education and Training in implementing and managing the school feeding programme since 1965.

The provision of school meals has proved to be critical in improving access to food as well as nutritional status of school learners, especially given the nutrition challenges faced by children in the country.

School feeding as one of the largest safety-net programmes in the country aspires to provide meals to learners while they are in school due to food insecurity that children face, making them more vulnerable.

According to the latest IPC report August 2020, close to 600 000 Basotho currently face food insecurity due to three conservative droughts that have been exacerbated by the global socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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