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Charitable organisations, including Zimbabwean prisons, are set to benefit from a grant of 5 400 tonnes of rice worth over $8 million donated by China to ease food shortages among the vulnerable.

Speaking during the handover ceremony in Harare yesterday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the donation will go a long way in alleviating food shortages in various communities.

“We want to celebrate the generosity of the people of China to Zimbabwe,” she said. “Since my ministry focuses on social security and welfare, it is the welfare of everyone in the country that I look at whether they are in the prisons or not.

“You may be aware that there have been recent reports that there was chaos at Chikurubi Maximum Prison after there was shortage of food. Prisoners just like us have rights and now that we have received this rice from China we have to be considerate hence we are allocating 100 tonnes of rice to prisons.”

Minister Mupfumira said the rice, being stored at the Grain Marketing Board, would be distributed to registered institutions accommodating vulnerable children, old people, people living with disabilities and other vulnerable members of communities.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, China Charge d’Affaires Mr Cui Chun said his country was committed to assist Zimbabwe in the areas of agriculture and food security.

“Today’s event testifies the g ties between China and Zimbabwe as all weather partners, especially in the area of food security and agriculture,” he said.

“China has taken a series of measures to develop its agriculture such as the implementation of modern technology, abolishing agricultural tax, increasing the incomes of farmers and speeding up reforms in rural areas. As a result, China has provided Zimbabwe with agricultural machineries and fertilisers worth $80 million.”

Source : The Herald