Emergency Food Distribution To Begin May 23

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The Steering Committee of the Government’s Household Food Support Program, headed by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, has disclosed that it will begin the distribution of emergency food packages on May 23, 2020, and that the program will target vulnerable groups and slum communities, where assistance is needed the most.

According to information, the distribution will be modelled after the former Special Emergency Life Food (SELF) food distribution chain, but will be headed by the World Food Program (WFP), which will be assisted by the community leaders in these slum areas.

Minister Tarpeh, in a statement issued over the weekend, said the food distribution will begin in the initial four counties affected by the Coronavirus, Montserrado, Margibi, Nimba and Grand Kru, while the remaining eleven counties will be included later.

In addition to rice, Minister Tarpeh said the Steering Committee will also look at the distribution to include local produce: palm oil, red beans, etc. “This is intended to empower our local farmers economically as we battle the pandemic,” Minister Tarpeh said.

On Saturday, April 18, 2020, President George M. Weah appointed a National Steering Committee to provide oversight to the COVID-19 Household Food Support Program (COHFSP). The Committee is chaired by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, co-chaired by the Ministry of Agriculture, and the World Food Program (WFP) serves as Secretary. Other members of the committee are the ministries of State, Finance and Development Planning, Information, Justice, Gender, Executive Committee on Coronavirus, National Security Council and representatives from civil societies, CPP, other political parties, Christian community, Muslim community, youth and student community, women groups, coalition of political parties women, UN organizations, IMF, disabled community and World Bank.

The committee was mandated to develop a clear terms of reference to guard the Steering Committee’s oversight.

In his letter to members of the committee, the President noted that the committee set-up is in line with an inclusive, all-of-government, all-of-society approach the Government has adopted at this stage of the response to COVID-19.

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