Gambia: Turkey Boosts Gambia's Food Aid Basket

The Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and the Turkish Red Crescent have jointly donated two containers of assorted food items as part of their contribution towards supporting efforts to mitigate the effects of The Gambia's 2011-2012 crop failure.

The two containers, which were donated to the government through the Department of Social Welfare, contain food items scuh as rice, sugar, flour, macaroni chick, peas, and bulgur among others.

Receiving the items on behalf of the beneficiaries at her office at State House, the vice president and minister of Women's Affairs, Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, applauded the government of Turkey for the timely gesture, noting that the assistance is not the first from that country.

"Turkey is a very important partner to The Gambia," she said, while recalling the numerous assistance the Turkish government has been rendering to the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI), as well The Gambia Armed Forces. She acknowledged that the gesture would go a long way in addressing the situation of those Gambians in need, while assuring that the items would go directly to the intended people.

Ali Riza, the Turkish ambassador to The Gambia said that hisgovernment is ready to strengthen Banjul-Ankara ties. He assured that his embassy would be fully functional to enhance the fruitful relationship between the two countries.

Sering Modou Njie, The Gambia's deputy ambassador to Turkey said the move by the two Turkish institutions came as a response to a clarion call by the government of The Gambia regarding the crop failure.

His words: "If you recall, the government of The Gambia last year declared 2011-2012 farming season a failure as a result of the severe crop failure due to shortfall in the rain registered. It is against this background that the wife ofGambia's ambassador to Turkey, Isatou Gaye-Joof approached a number of organisations and institutions in order to solicit their support and intervention in that regard."

He told the gathering that Madam Joof visited TIKA and held discussions with them, during which she informed them of the Gambia government's PAGE, among other development blueprints.

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