By Tabora Bojang
The Chinese Government through its Ambassador to the Gambia H.E Zhang Jiming over the weekend donated 2,568 metric tons of to the Government of The Gambia.
The ceremony, held at the Banjul port was presided by Hon. Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang, minister for women’s affairs and overseer of the OVP, with cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries, managing directors and senior government officials.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, the Chinese Ambassador to the Gambia H.E Zhang Jiming described the donation as a symbol of China-Gambia agricultural cooperation and renders China’s strong support to the Gambian people to achieve food sufficiency and security.
He said the rice donation was announced by president Xi-Jinping’s special envoy during his visit to The Gambia in February.
The first batch of over 1300 metric tons was delivered and another batch of over 1200-metric tons is also scheduled to arrive next month.
Jiming maintained that China is also ready to share its experience and expertise with The Gambia in rice cultivation and agricultural development.
Speaking on behalf of the president, Madam Fatoumatta- Jallow Tambajang expressed profound gratitude to the Chinese authorities for the gracious gesture.
Madam Tambajang re-affirmed her Government’s commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations between The Gambia and the People’s Republic of China.
“In an effort to complement the Government in attaining food sufficiency and security, the donation will assist in saving lives and ameliorate suffering not only in the short-term but in the long-term as well,” she said.
She assured the Ambassador that the first consignment of rice will be judiciously utilized.
For his part, Omar A Jallow alias OJ, the Minister of Agriculture, said the delay in the beginning of rains in 2016 has negatively affected timely planting which resulting in poor crop yields, including rice across all the regions of the country.
“As a result the donation by the Chinese government could not have come at a better time as this will address the issue of food security,” OJ said.
He said the rice will be freely distributed across all the seven regions of the country mainly to the less privileged.
The donated rice has a typical yellowish colour similar to honey or amber and is said to have many merits such as high nutrition value.