The government has directed the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) to investigate the quality of food items distributed by the World Food Program to earthquake victims.
After locals in various districts complained about the quality of rice distributed by the WFP, the government directed the ministry to test the quality of food items distributed by the UN body and ensure that quality food items are supplied to the quake victims, informed Minister of Information and Communications Minendra Rijal, who is also the government’s spokesperson, after a cabinet meeting at Baluwatar on Friday.
The government decided to direct the ministry to investigate the quality all food items distributed by WFP after the rice supplied by the UN body to Laprak in Gorkha district was found rotten.
However, the government has kept mum about the possible action to be taken against the UN agency if found to have distributed sub-standard food items.
On May 23, the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DoFTQC), the government body responsible for testing the quality of food items, had found rice distributed by WFP in Kavre district to be substandard.
Meanwhile, the WFP said it has launched investigation into how the 120 bags of rice in Laprak, Gorkha district, were damaged.
Issuing a press statement on Friday, WFP said Emergency Coordinator for Nepal Richard Ragan and Chief District Officer of Gorkha Uddhav Prasad Timilsina visited Laprak following complaints that some of the rice meant for the earthquake survivors was damaged.
The press statement read that Ragan and Timilsina found that 120 of the total 485 bags that had been delivered to Laprak on Tuesday, contained damaged rice. The 120 bags were set aside by WFP’s local partner, the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) before distribution, while the remaining 365 bags of undamaged rice had been distributed to the villagers.
“We have launched an immediate investigation into why a quarter of the rice was unfit for distribution,” said Ragan. “There are three possibilities: the rice could have been received damaged from the supplier, the damage could have happened during warehousing in high temperatures, or, finally, during transportation. The answer will be made public as soon as we find out what happened. It is also important to note that none of the damaged rice was distributed and will be immediately replaced,” he said.