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Taiwan to cut rice aid to Haiti due to poor harvest

The government will this year reduce the volume of its annual rice aid to Haiti because the 2008 harvest of the crop in Taiwan was poor, a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.
Joseph Y. L. Kuo, director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Central and South American Affairs, said that at present the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture can offer only 200 tons of stock rice at the most for each humanitarian relief shipment, as it has to maintain a safe volume of reserves.
The MOFA began the relief program to Haiti in 2003, when it shipped 3,000 tons of stock rice to the Caribbean ally to help feed school children and other people living in poverty, Kuo said.
In 2004, the MOFA followed up with a donation of 5,000 tons of rice and in 2007-2008, Taiwan reached an understanding with the Haiti government and the U.S.-based international Food For The Poor (FFP) charity organization to continue its rice aid to Haiti.
Taiwan donated 5,000 tons of rice to Haiti in 2007, and 9,600 tons in 2008 to help the FFP with two of its programs - "Hot Meals For Children" and "Aid to the Poor in Haiti."
Some 18,000 people benefited from the two FFP programs, Kuo added.