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Remarks at the Handover Ceremony of Food Aid From the Government of China to the Government of Lesotho
(Dr. Sun Xianghua, Ambassador of China in Lesotho, Nov. 16, 2017)

Please allow me to start by paying my respects to H.M.King Letsie III, and

The Right Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, with all protocols observed

Your Honorable Lesego Makgothi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations,

Your Honorable Tefo Mapesela, Minister of Trade and Industry, and acting Minister in the Prime Minister's Office,

Mr. Mahosi, Acting Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office, and Director of Disaster Management Authority,

Dear colleagues,

Distinguished guests,

Friends from the media

Ladies and gentlemen

 

Today we are gathered here to witness the handover of 1006 metric tons of parboiled rice in 40 containers from the Government of the People's Republic of China to the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho. This batch of food aid is the first shipment of food that will be provided to Lesotho this year and the second shipment will be coming in due course. The total volume will amount to 2341 metric tons and with a tune of RMB 20 million (roughly equivalent to M 40 million).

 

In recent years, Lesotho and some other African countries have been hit by severe droughts, which greatly affected the food security situation in these countries, especially the people who are either unemployed, or live in remote areas and live on subsistence farming. In response to the requests of assistance of the government of Lesotho, the Chinese government decided to upgrade its urgent food assistance to the mountain kingdom. Last year, when the food shortage was most serious, the government of China provided RMB 18 million worth of food aid to Lesotho. More than 400 thousand people benefited from the urgent aid program.

 

Though we witnessed a better rain season at the first quarter of this year and some rain recently, we shall continue to be vigilant about the food security. According to a UN country research report this year, the number of food insecure people in Lesotho still stands at more than 300 thousand. In response to this situation, the Chinese government decided to increase this year's food aid to Lesotho from RMB 18 million to RMB 20 million. We wish this assistance will help the Lesotho government and people overcome the current difficult situation.

 

Distinguished guests, in recent years, due to the negative impact of climate change and regional conflicts, the world's food insecure population has increased to 815 million since 2014, according to a report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. In response to this challenge, the Chinese government has responded with a series of measures to help mitigate the situation.

 

Firstly, at the International Cooperation Summit of the Belt and Road Initiative held in Beijing in May this year, H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China announced that in the coming 3 years, China would provide RMB 2 billion worth of food aid to countries along the Belt and Road region. The food aid to Lesotho this year falls under this program.

 

Secondly, China has acted resolutely to fight the climate change. China is the first developing country in the world to pledge unilateral reduction of green gas emissions. In the past 20 years, China's accumulated energy saving accounts for 58% of the world's total, and its renewable energy production capacity accounts for 24% of the world's total. China has become the biggest country in utilizing new and renewable energy, making a great contribution to the fight against climate change.

 

Thirdly, China will continue to push forward its cooperation in the field of agricultural modernization with African countries including Lesotho. Currently, we send 40 Basotho including some small-scale agricultural practitioners to China for agricultural training courses every year. We hope more Basotho will benefit from our experiences and technical knowhow in increasing their agricultural production. Meanwhile, we are also discussing with the Ministry of Development Planning of Lesotho about the possibility of building an agricultural products storage and trading centre in Lesotho, which will help Lesotho to build up its food reserve and vitalize its food market.

 

It's my strong belief that with our joint efforts, we will push our cooperation in food security for Lesotho to new high and bring more benefits to the Basotho people. Last month, the Communist Party of China, the ruling party of China since the founding of the People's Republic, held its 19th National Congress. At this most important event of China that is held every five years, the CPC and China have made a clarion call of constructing a community with shared future for mankind, which means to build a world of lasting peace, universal security, common prosperity, inclusive development, and clean and beautiful environment. In this regard, President Xi specifically pointed that "China will increase its assistance to other developing countries; especially the least developed countries, and do its part to reduce the North-South development gap." I am fully convinced that China-Lesotho friendship and cooperation will further benefit from China's efforts in the new era, and also contribute its share to this lofty cause, so as to make our relationship a fine example of partnerships among countries.

 

Last but now least, I shall use this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, all the other relevant Ministries, and the Food Management Unit in the Prime Minister's Office for facilitating the handover of the food aid and for organizing today's event. Meanwhile, it's my sincere wish that this food will be speedily distributed to the needy families and people across the country. For this I thank you all in advance.

 

Thank you! Khotso, Pula, Nala!

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