US govt hands over food storage building to NFCThe US government has handed over the food storage building to Birgunj-based office of Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) in order to respond effectively during emergencies. The facility has a capacity to store 1,000 tonnes of food.
The US government has handed over the food storage building to Birgunj-based office of Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) in order to respond effectively during emergencies. The facility has a capacity to store 1,000 tonnes of food.
The NFC is a government agency that distributes food when availability or access is insecure. It is also responsible in reserving food under the Saarc Food Bank.
Military attaché at the US Embassy in Kathmandu, Lieutenant Colonel Gregory D Pipes, handed over the modern storage facility to Shri Mani Khanal, officiating general manager of the corporation branch in Birgunj on Wednesday amidst a programme.
As Nepal is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, particularly the agriculture sector, the storage facility will help the government to respond and distribute food during such emergencies, according to the corporation. The storage facilities are safe and clean and protect food commodities from damage. The construction was completed after one and a half years.
“The building is a gift from the American people for the food security of Nepal,” said Pipes. “We hope that the building will help Nepal not just to increase food stock but also to mobilise food items in necessary places during natural disasters,” said Pipes.
The NFC has to maintain 33,000 tonnes of buffer stock and 8,000 tonnes of the Saarc regional stock and any food aid channelled through the government.
The government of Nepal is required to store 8,000 tonnes of food under the Saarc Food Bank and 25,000 tonnes under the Food and Nutrition Security Plan.
Ten months ago, the US government had handed over another food storage building in Hetauda. According to Khanal, the two modern storage buildings have increased NFC’s capacity to store 100,000 tonnes of food items.
“The new building will be more useful as it is near to the airport. Besides, food can be purchased that is grown in Tarai, the country’s food basket, without transportation and other hassles,” said Khanal. The corporation has 153 storage buildings across the country. Most of them were built over 34 years ago.
NFC’s original purpose was to alleviate famines and temporary food shortages, following the 1972 famine in Karnali region. It procures paddy and rice from market and farmers at competitive prices.
In addition to rice, the corporation also operates in meat market with a view to stabilise prices.