GOL Receives Generous Rice Donation from Japan
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Gabriel H. Salee receives the Donated KR Food Aid Rice from His Excellency Mochizuki Hisanobu, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Liberia

GOL Receives Generous Rice Donation from Japan

In a significant gesture of international cooperation and goodwill, the Government of Liberia has received a substantial donation of rice from the Government of Japan. The formal handover ceremony took place on June 18, 2024 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia. The donated KR Food Aid rice, a vital food staple for many Liberians, is expected to bolster food security and provide relief to vulnerable populations across the country. The acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Gabriel H. Salee, accepted the donation on behalf of His Excellency Joseph Nyuma Boakia, Sr., President of the Republic of Liberia. In his remarks, Acting Foreign Minister Salee expressed deep gratitude to the Government and people of Japan for their unwavering support and solidarity, noting that the donation aligns with the ARREST Agenda of the government.

"Today's donation is a testament to the strong and enduring friendship between Liberia and Japan. This generous contribution will go a long way in addressing the food needs of our people, particularly those who are most vulnerable. We are profoundly grateful for this assistance, which reflects Japan's commitment to international cooperation and humanitarian aid," Minister Salee stated. The Acting Foreign Minister said the rice donation from the Government of Japan marks a significant milestone in Liberia's ongoing efforts to ensure food security and improve the well-being of its citizens. “It underscores the strength of the Liberia-Japan partnership and the shared commitment to addressing global challenges through mutual cooperation and support”.

His Excellency Mochizuki Hisanobu, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Liberia, presented the rice on behalf of the Japanese Government. Ambassador Hisanobu highlighted the importance of this donation in the context of Japan's ongoing efforts to support Liberia's development and humanitarian needs. "Japan is committed to supporting Liberia in its pursuit of sustainable development and prosperity. This donation of rice is part of our broader effort to assist Liberia in enhancing food security and improving the livelihoods of its people. We believe that by working together, our two nations can overcome the challenges we face and build a brighter future," Ambassador Hisanobu remarked.

The Japanese Ambassador said the Food Assistance program has been one of the sustainable means of raising revenue through the Counterpart Value Fund to tackle the Government of Liberia’s ARREST developmental initiatives and also address cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood and the dignity of people, adding that the donated rice is value at US$1.5 million. Providing context for the donation, Mr. Steven Flahn-Paye, Head of JCVF Secretariat, outlined the historical background and significance of this latest assistance. Mr. Flahn-Paye emphasized that this donation is part of a long-standing tradition of Japanese support for Liberia, which has included various forms of humanitarian aid and development assistance over the years.

"Japan's food aid to Liberia dates back to 2008, with numerous contributions aimed at alleviating food insecurity, supporting agricultural and infrastructure development. This latest donation is a continuation of that legacy, reinforcing the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. It is also a reflection of Japan's commitment to global food security and its recognition of the critical need to support nations facing food shortages, the proceeds from the sale of the donated rice is used to build needed markets and other infrastructures in Liberia," Mr. Flahn-Paye explained. The shipment, which comprises several thousand metric tons of high-quality rice, is set to be distributed to communities across Liberia in the coming weeks by Fouta Corporation. The Liberia Marketing Association (LMA), in collaboration with relevant local and international partners, will oversee the distribution process to ensure that the rice reaches those in greatest need.

For his part, the Deputy Minister for International Cooperation and Economic Integration, Dr. Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei proudly announced that Liberia has successfully maintained the integrity of the KR rice initiative, reinforcing the nation's commitment to its agricultural and economic growth. This dedication will be highlighted at the upcoming Japan-Africa Summit. "We are proud to say that Liberia has maintained the integrity of the KR rice program and will continue to do so to fully accelerate our national development agenda," said Nyei. "This initiative is pivotal in ensuring food security and promoting sustainable development across the country." At the Japan-Africa Summit, Liberia will emphasize the significance of the KR rice program in its strategy for national development.

The Government of Liberia views this donation as an opportunity to not only address immediate food security needs but also to strengthen bilateral relations with Japan. The two nations have enjoyed a robust partnership, with Japan providing support in areas such as health, education, and infrastructure development in Liberia. Moving forward, both governments have expressed a commitment to exploring additional avenues of cooperation. Discussions are underway to identify further opportunities for collaboration in agricultural development, capacity building, and technology transfer. These efforts are aimed at enhancing Liberia's self-sufficiency and resilience, ensuring long-term food security and sustainable development.

During the ceremony, several key stakeholders offered their perspectives on the importance of the donation and the broader implications for Liberia-Japan relations. Hon. Julius Selee, Executive Director, Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE)), praised the donation as a timely intervention that aligns with ongoing efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition in the country. "The LACE is pleased to see this significant contribution from Japan, which will complement our initiatives aimed at improving food security and infrastructure development in Liberia, stating that LACE is implementing most of the projects under this arrangement. Partnerships like these are essential for achieving our developmental agenda," Mr. Selee noted. As the rice is distributed and utilized, the Government of Liberia remains hopeful that this act of generosity will inspire further collaborative efforts, not only between Liberia and Japan but also within the broader international community. Together, through unity and shared purpose, the challenges of food insecurity can be met, and the foundation for a more prosperous and resilient future can be laid.