China on Thursday donated 3,099 tons of maize to Zambia meant for people facing food shortages following the poor farming season of 2018/2019.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Li Jie handed over the maize to Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane during a ceremony.
The maize will be distributed to vulnerable families by the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU).
The Chinese envoy said his government was happy for having responded to Zambia’s request for food aid following the food shortage caused by the poor rainy season.
He said despite Zambia experiencing good crop harvests in the 2019/2020 farming season, people in some parts of the country still need food assistance.
According to him, global climate change has led to frequent extreme weather and that Zambia has suffered extreme climate disasters such as floods and drought, adding that the spread of the COVID-19 has caused a large number of people to face food shortages.
The donation, he said, demonstrates the cordial relations that have existed between the two countries over the years.
“As an all-weather friend, China understands the need and generously responded to the demands of Zambia, and quickly made a decision to provide humanitarian emergency food aid,” he said.
On his part, the Zambian minister thanked China for the donation, saying the Asian nation has demonstrated its generosity during times of adversity.
“The government of China has continuously shown that they are a friend that can be relied upon when Zambia needs a shoulder to lean on,” he said.
The donation, he said, was a further gesture of friendship between the two countries and further signifies the cordial bilateral ties enjoyed over the years.
China, he said, has in the recent past been actively involved in Zambia’s disaster risk reduction programs including response to disaster-prone areas.
According to him, a total of 296,438 people or 49,406 households from 18 districts needs food aid for a period of six months from October 2021 to March 2022.
Joshua Kamanya, DMMU acting National Coordinator, said the farming season from 2018 to 2020 which was characterized by drought in some areas and flooding in others as well as the emergency of armyworms and locusts left many families food insecure.
He expressed happiness that China was among countries that responded to food assistance, adding that the donation of the maize will help the vulnerable families.