US to give Pak 8.4-mln-dlr food aid

September 19th, 2008 - 4:52 pm ICT by ANI  

Islamabad , Sept 19 (ANI): In order to help the poor among Pakistanis tackle the food problem amid rising prices of essential commodities and also encourage kids to attend schools, the US has decided to give Pakistan 8.4 million dollars in food aid, a statement released by the US embassy said.

The aid would be sent through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations World Food Programme. An agreement was signed to this effect here last evening.

Addressing the signing ceremony, US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W Patterson said that the programme would benefit thousands of Pakistanis affected by the rising price of basic edibles. She said that she was pleased that many of the beneficiaries were Pakistani schoolchildren living in underdeveloped areas. She said the food support programme would also encourage the people to send their children to school, reported the Daily Times.

As per the agreement, the US will provide approximately 11,000 metric tonnes of wheat to over 1.6 million Pakistanis, including students in 3200 schools. The WFP will begin distributing food aid in 12 districts of the NWFP and Balochistan this month. The deserving residents of these areas have been identified by the WFP, the statement added.

Speaking on the occasion, WFP Country Director in Pakistan Wolfgang Herbinger that special parent-teachers-students days would be organized at schools, in which food staples, including 50-kg wheat rations, would be distributed among families thrice until the beginning of the next wheat harvest in March and April 2009.

Herbinger further said that the take-home rations would serve as an incentive to the families to keep their children in schools during the economically difficult period for poor Pakistani families.

The distribution of the wheat is tied to the WFP/UNESCO School Food Programme, under which families that have kept their children enrolled in schools receive four litres of cooking oil, he said and added that the wheat distribution would be added to that programme.

The food aid will benefit 238,500 households and 265,000 students in the NWFP and Balochistan, the embassy statement stated. (ANI)

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