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Over 2,500 tonnes of free rice to be distributed nationwide

Jul 3, 2017, 9:48 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The 2,568 metric tonnes of rice donated by the Chinese government to The Gambia would be given free of charge across the seven regions of the country.

“The rice will be freely distributed across the seven regions of The Gambia, mainly to the less privileged,” Agriculture Minister Omar A. Jalllow said on Friday at the handing over of the Chinese government donated rice held at the Gambia Ports Authority in Banjul.

The first consignment of 1,308 metric tonnes was presented to the acting vice president of The Gambia, Aja Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang, who is also the minister of women’s affairs.

The remaining consignment of 1,260 metric tonnes is due in Banjul before end of next month, July.

Speaking on the occasion, the agriculture minister said The Gambia continues to regard the Peoples Republic of China with high esteem and considers its government and people as a strategic ally in various fields of endeavour.

“The donation of 2,568 metric tonnes of rice, the staple food of The Gambia, is a clear demonstration of the government of China’s commitment to the welfare of the Gambian people,” he said. 

“It is a further manifestation of the wide-ranging bilateral and economic ties between our two countries, as well as our close collaboration at the international and regional levels on matters of security, peace and development.”

The agric minister said the donation is a goodwill gesture to complement the efforts of The Gambia government in ensuring food sufficiency and security.

Receiving the donation on behalf of the Gambian leader, Madam Jallow-Tambajang expressed appreciation to the Chinese authorities “for the gracious gesture of this magnitude”.

She assured the Chinese government, through its embassy in Gambia, of Banjul government’s commitment to further strengthen the bilateral relations “for the mutual benefit of our two peoples”.

Chinese Ambassador to The Gambia Zhang Jiming said the food aid in the form of rice donation was announced by President Xi Jinping’s special envoy, Mr. Ma Peihua, during his visit to The Gambia in February.

“Travelling thousands of miles from China, the paddy rice is a symbol of China-Gambia agricultural cooperation; it conveys goodwill, friendliness and compassion of the people of China to the brotherly people of The Gambia and renders China strong support to the endeavour by the Gambian people to achieve food sufficiency and security.”

“I hope it could help Gambian brothers and sisters to tide over the rainy season and embrace a bumper harvest.”