JAPAN has released US$2,7 million through the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food to 28 500 people in 24 districts in Zimbabwe.

Speaking during the handover of Majerejere nutrition garden to the community in Tsenga ward, Mt Darwin yesterday, Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Toshiyuki Iwado said there was need to deal with food insecurity being fuelled by an economic meltdown among other things.

“Zimbabwe’s socio-economic challenges, coupled with poor growing seasons due to extreme weather conditions, have resulted in chronic food insecurity for many communities for years.

Donors including Japan have continued to provide support to the most food insecure communities in Zimbabwe,” he said.

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Since 2016, Japan has funded projects amounting to US$10m, in the areas of food assistance and enhancing resilience of drought and flood-affected communities.

About seven million people are facing hunger in Zimbabwe with 5,5 million of them living in the rural areas.

Iwado said there was need for government to come up with tangible strategies to mitigate hunger.

“I strongly urge the Zimbabwe government to seriously tackle the issue of food insecurity and come up with ways of ensuring food security of its people,” he said.

This year, Japan has released a total of US$3,5m to WFP with the hunger alleviation projects being implemented in partnership with World Vision and Plan International.

WFP country director Eddie Rowe said: “The timely funding from this year, received in times of great need , have been crucial to our operational capacity amidst two climate-related disasters. We have also received assistance in maternal health care.”

The Japanese government has also been supporting the country’s agricultural sector by, for example, rehabilitating Nyakomba irrigation scheme in Manicaland province.