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China supports FSM food security

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PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services) — On Sept. 2, 2020, the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Federated States of Micronesia hosted a ceremony wherein Huang Zheng, ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, donated $28,000 to Nan Madol en Ihmw Inc. to support the replanting of food crops in Madolenihmw, Pohnpei, FSM Project.

FSM citizens may recall that during the state visit to China by FSM President David W. Panuelo in December, 2019, that among the conversations between him and President Xi Jinping as well as among the members of the delegation (including Esmond B. Moses, vice speaker of the 21st FSM Congress), food security initiatives were discussed in detail. An example of such a food security project is the coconut farm in Pohnpei State, which is presently 1.33 hectares in size with 150 yellow dwarf coconuts, 150 red dwarf coconuts, and 150 green dwarf coconuts planted as of December 2019.

In a diplomatic note on behalf of China to the FSM dated Aug. 11, 2020, the Chinese Embassy wrote: “We Chinese always attach importance to the food security of developing countries, including the FSM, and [we stand] ready to offer relief and assistance should any emergency or concerning situation occur due to climate change, epidemics, or any other natural disaster. In this spirit and upon conscientious review, the embassy is pleased to inform the [FSM] Department [of Foreign Affairs] that a $28,000 donation has been approved to fund the [replanting of stable food crops in Madolenihmw, Pohnpei] project.”

Estephan P. Santiago, CEO of Nan Madol en Imhw Inc., poses with Huang Zheng, ambassador of China to the FSM. FSM Information Services photo

Although he was not present in the ceremony due to attending to other matters of national import, President Panuelo later said in a statement: “During the time of this Covid-19 pandemic, it is increasingly clear that the people of the FSM — who are presently reliant on imported foodstuffs for the bulk of our caloric intake — would greatly benefit from transitioning to a local and sustainable diet. This move has already been advocated by the FSM national government and the respective state governments of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae in the context of our crisis with non- communicable diseases, of which more than one out of every three FSM citizens has diabetes resulting, in part, from a diet largely based on empty calories, such as white rice.

“I am beyond grateful to the people and government of China for their assistance to Nan Madol en Ihmw, Inc. for their efforts in promoting food security in the Municipality of Madolenihmw, and I would strongly encourage all state and municipal governments throughout the FSM to consider working with the FSM national government in approaching China to continue supporting our food security initiatives. I thanked President Xi for Ambassador Huang’s service to the FSM in December 2019, and I echo again these sentiments today. China showed us respect by recognizing our sovereignty when we became an independent nation, and I urge all FSM citizens to see our FSM-China Great Friendship as a blessing.”

At present, the FSM national government is cooperating with China to see how it can receive 30 mobile isolation units for the purpose of combating the Covid-19 pandemic and preventing its entry into the FSM. As of Sept. 2, 2020, the FSM remained Covid-19 free.

Later in the evening, President Panuelo met with Ambassador Huang, in his capacity as dean of the diplomatic corps, in the first of a series of informal dinners with  diplomats to address issues of import affecting the FSM and its citizens.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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