Feature: Chinese rice helps Namibian households meet nutritional needs

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-30 01:35:19|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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WINDHOEK, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese rice donated to the Namibian government is helping the country's citizens to meet their nutritional needs, following a dry spell and poor yields.

During the 2016 and 2017 harvest season, due to climate variability, Maria Matias from a far flung village in Namibia's Oshana region could not produce enough food from her farm to feed her family.

Following a poor harvest, she faced major challenges feeding her family.

"As a result of drought and subsequent flood, I had poor yields of pearl millet and other legumes. Further, I had no surplus yields that I could sell to earn money and buy supplementary food to add to our household food basket. It had been a struggle to make ends meet," said Matias.

Matias' story represents that of many Namibians in the norther region of the country.

As luck would have it for her, in mid-May this year, to her relief, the situation improved. Agents from the local Oshakati-west Constituency Office distributed Chinese rice to households in the local authority area.

To date, on sunny afternoons and breezy nights, Matias prepares the Chinese rice for her family. "Chinese rice has become our daily meal. I had poor yields, hence the rice is supplementary or even a substitute meal of the stable pearl millet in northern Namibia which is in short supply," said Matias.

According to Matias, the texture of rice is not so different from the regular rice sold in Namibia. "The advantage of the Chinese rice is that it does not require extensive cooking compared to other varieties we are accustomed to. As long as one soaks it in water, preparation period is minimal," she added.

Meanwhile, Kuku Agatus, a traditional leader in the Oshakati-West constituency said that the Chinese rice was distributed to households as directed by the Central Government as part of efforts to address food shortages resulting from the negative effects of climate change.

"In our area, should you randomly visit any homestead at lunch hour or dinner, they will be serving you Chinese rice. Chinese rice has helped our communities and its people to get by and meet the nutritional needs," he added.

In June, Li Nan, Charge d' Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Namibia, said that since 2016, to alleviate the drought disaster, the Chinese Government provided two batches of emergency food aid to Namibia, 4,000 tons and 2,600 tons of rice, totaling 100 million Namibian dollars(7.7 million U.S. dollars), benefitting more than 595,000 people.