| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Japan supports WFP in food safety control following the Beirut blast

Thanks to a US$1.5 million contribution from the government of Japan, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), , will support the repair and augmentation of food safety laboratories and animal quarantine centers that got heavily damaged by the Beirut blast.

This intervention was announced at Beirut Port in a ceremony attended by the Ambassador of Japan Okubo Takeshi and the Minister of Agriculture Abbas Mortada. This will ensure an effective and well-functioning food safety control mechanism in Lebanon by supporting food imports, the agri-food sector, and overall food safety standards in the country.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce the launching of the new project in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture and WFP, which aims at restoring the important facilities damaged by the Beirut harbor blast.  I hope this project will play an important role in assuring national food security in Lebanon. My message through this project is Japan always stands side by side with Lebanon in difficult times as a friend in need.” says OKUBO Takeshi, Ambassador of Japan to Lebanon.

“We are very grateful for the people and Government of Japan as this project will eventually benefit both the humanitarian and private sectors; enabling import and access to food commodities,” says WFP Representative and Country Director in Lebanon Abdallah Al-Wardat. “The Port of Beirut is a key artery for Lebanon that is now witnessing drastic food security challenges.”

WFP support comes in close coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and Ministry of Economy and Trade (MoET). The rehabilitation project will include the rehabilitation of the destroyed laboratory centre and the procurement and installation of damaged equipment and replacement of the lost and destroyed laboratory tools and supplies so that functionality returns to the Beirut Port Quarantine Centres and Kfarshima MoA Laboratories. This aims at preventing the introduction and spread of harmful exotic plants and plant/animal product pests inside Lebanese territories. To ensure the project’s sustainability, WFP will be conducting comprehensive capacity strengthening activities and training sessions for the ministry’s staff at the quarantine centers.

I would like to express my content with this partnership and to extend my thanks and appreciation to the Government of Japan and His Excellency Mr. Okubo Takeshi, for his prompt response. Also, to His Excellency the representative of the World Food Programme, Mr. Abdallah Al-Wardat, for the needed technical support in launching this intervention,” says Abbas Mortada, Caretaker Minister of Agriculture. “This support is paramount in light of the challenges we are facing today. Food security is a top priority for Lebanon and the Ministry of Agriculture especially. Our responsibility has multiplied to maintain the stability of food supply and achieve the highest levels of food safety.”

Japan has been supportive of WFP’s work in Lebanon for many years. This new contribution brings Japan’s total support towards WFP assistance for vulnerable people in Lebanon to more than US$22 million since 2012.

  • Lebanese National News Agency