HARARE, November 9 (The Source) – Japan has extended a $15 million grant to Zimbabwe, the first since 2000, to develop irrigation systems and improve food security in the eastern part of the country as the nations seek to revive bilateral relationships.
Tokyo suspended its government to government grant assistance to Harare in 2000 but Japan’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Yoshi Hiraishi told a press conference that the grant marked an improvement in relations between the two countries.
The grant aims to rehabilitate irrigation facilities in Nyakomba district in Manicaland province which were damaged by flooding caused by Cyclone Eline in 2006 and put an additional 146 hectares under irrigation.
“This is indeed a momentous occasion, not only for the people of Nyakomba, but also for the bilateral relations as a whole between our two countries. It can be marked as a realisation of the resumption of substantive bilateral economic corporation between Japan and Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Recent weather patterns have clearly demonstrated the unreliability of rain-fed agriculture and the urgent need for irrigation development.”
Implementation is scheduled to commence in December with completion expected by March 2018. A total of 861 small holder farmers are expected to benefit.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa who was present at the press conference said Zimbabwe was committed to full re-engagement with Japan.