Japan provides $5 mn for Rohingyas, local farmers

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a new contribution of US$ 5 million from the government of Japan towards its support to farmers in the host community and displaced people from Myanmar who are now living in Cox’s Bazar district.

Japan’s contribution will support WFP’s farmers’ market programme, in which refugees can purchase fresh foods produced by local farmers at the markets regularly, using a WFP Assistance Card.

Some 2,400 local farmers in Cox’s Bazar Districts have been engaged to supply fresh vegetables that could serve the needs of 100,000 people.

“I heartily express my congratulations to WFP on winning the Nobel Peace Prize for its significant contribution to the eradication of world hunger and poverty through food assistance,” said Ambassador Ito Naoki.

Through this project, he said, both farmers from the host community and displaced people will benefit. “I sincerely wish that this project will be able to support the displaced people and host community in Cox’s Bazar and contribute to the development of Bangladesh.”

Alpha Bah, WFP Deputy Country Director said the farmers’ market model demonstrates the enormous economic opportunities the refugee response can provide to local populations,.

“The market is mutually beneficial, too, providing income to local food producers and increasing dietary diversity among the refugee population. By building a symbiotic economic relationship, the model also contributes to a peaceful co-existence and social cohesion between those two groups.”

Japan’s contribution has been critical for WFP’s refugee response since it was expanded in 2017. Its initial funding of US$ 15 million helped WFP provide lifesaving assistance to the Rohingya families when they first arrived in Cox’s Bazar, said WFP on Wednesday.

In 2019, Japan contributed a further US$ 5 million to support the livelihood of smallholder farmers in Patuakhali and Cox’s Bazar Districts and the expansion of WFP’s e-voucher programme for the refugee population.

Each month, WFP provides food assistance to 860,000 displaced people from Myanmar and more than 500,000 vulnerable people in the host community.