By Carol Kasujja
Brazil has donated 2,000 metric tons of rice worth $1million to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to feed 155,000 refugees living in Uganda.
"Brazil is pleased to be able to offer this critical support to refugees in Uganda," said Antonio Ricarte, Charge d'Affaires of Brazil to Uganda.
Speaking at a press conference held at WFP head offices in Nalukolongo, Kampala, Ricarte stressed the need to support all African countries.
"Our commitment to international humanitarian cooperation has become a cornerstone of our solidarity over the past 10 years with more than 50 countries, mainly in Africa and Latin America." He said.
Ricarte said Brazil had become a major donor to WFP globally, and since 2011, the country had contributed more than 300,000 tons of grain to 35 countries facing food insecurity.
He said Brazil had substantially increased its annual contributions to WFP worldwide from US$1 million in 2007 to US$82 million in 2012.
"WFP is extremely grateful to the Government of Brazil for its support, especially as it will benefit the recently-arrived Congolese refugees in Uganda," said WFP Country Director Sory Ouane.
Ouane, believes that south-south cooperation helps developing countries share resources for mutual benefit.
The Minister for disaster preparedness Musa Echeru, requested Brazil to also support other refugees in other neighboring countries so that they do not affect the countries they visit.
"This contribution from Brazil is timely and we are happy for developed countries to support countries like Uganda," Echeru said.
WFP is currently supporting an estimated 155,000 refugees, as well as providing nutrition support to malnourished children across Uganda.
Most of the refugees come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi. WFP food assistance is generally their only source of nutritious food, until they are able to provide for themselves in Uganda.