15 February 2013

Gambia: Japanese Embassy, Agric Ministry Officials Review Food Aid Project

Officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Japanese Embassy in The Gambia Thursday convened a 0ne-day committee meeting at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul to review Japan's Food Aid Project (KR) for the fiscal year 2011.

The meeting availed the officials the opportunity to highlight the importance of this assistance to The Gambia, and also make suggestions and recommendations for effective coordination of the aid.

Speaking at the meeting, the first secretary at the Japanese Embassy, Akiko Takano, explained that the agreement of the aid under review between The Gambia and Japan was concludedin January last year, financed at the tune of 270 million Japanese Yen, which is equivalent to almost 90 million Gambian Dalasi. This, she explained, resulted to the procurement of almost 4,500 tons of Japanese rice.

"I believe that this Japanese Food Aid to The Gambia, which started from 1980, more than 30 years ago, is a key Aid programme between the two countries, one of the ways to show to the Gambian people the assistance of the Japanese people by contributing to the food security of this country," she remarked.

Takano described the meeting as a good opportunity not only to review the recent projects of the KR programme, but also to look at the situations and conditions of food in The Gambia. She said this will enable them to recognise the position of the KR programme within the framework of food security in The Gambia and make the programme more efficient in its execution.

She continued: "I heard there are some obstacles for the execution of the programme, notably the constitution of counterpart fund, but I believe we would be able to come up to a solution to solve the problem today, with the assistance of all of you gathered here representing relevant institutions. I would like to thank you for your presence at this meeting and I hope that today's meeting will enhance the good relationship between The Gambia and Japan."

Takano said she is delighted that the Japanese rice will be arriving soon in the country under Food Aid 2011, noting that this is appreciated by the people of The Gambia.

The permanent secretary No.2 at the Ministry of Agriculture, Sait Drammeh, said the government and people of The Gambia under the leadership of President Jammeh have recognised and appreciated the grant assistance extended to them by the Japanese government. "The grants have not only been food aid but other forms such as agricultural inputs, which have made positive impact on the attainment of food security," he stated.

The deputy permanent secretary at the said Ministry, Sherrifo Bojang, also thanked the Japanese government for helping the Gambia government in the area of food security.

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