Amid spikes in coronavirus cases, growing inflation, massive food shortage in local communities, The Gambian government in collaboration with the World Food Program (WFP) have launched an Emergency food assistance program to extend food bailout to economically distressed Gambian communities. Over 42,000 Gambian settlements would benefit from the food aid.
Vice President Isatou Touray on Tuesday deputized President Barrow to officiate the launching of the emergency food aid program. She notes that the coronavirus pandemic has caused food and nutrient shortages, thereby making life hard for impoverished communities. She added that hunger and malnutrition does not only have effects on health and Education of the people, but also on the country’s weak economy.
The Vice President said the food aid would be given to the most vulnerable households and it would be distributed without any form of discrimination.
“This rice distribution must be carried out on the basis of need alone, giving priority to the most urgent cases of distress and making no distinction on the basis of race, gender, religious beliefs, class or political opinion. I am the President of all Gambians and will support anybody, who needs support. I see Gambians and not politics or tribes,” the Vice President remarked.
She said 1,973 villages and settlements have already been registered to benefit from the food relief program.
Gambia’s Agriculture Minister Amie Faburay notes that the food aid would go a long way in helping the poor and the needy. She further notes that low-income earners would be the utmost priority for the food aid.
The government of The Gambia, through our Ministry, she said, is very much appreciative and thankful to the World Food Program, considering and close collaboration in providing the matching funds.
“The assistance will prioritize families with less than four month of food stock, surviving on daily wages with no regular income or remittances,” she said.
The food aid came at a time when The Gambia is witnessing hikes in basic commodities. The price for a bag of rice, which is the nation’s main staple food, has increased in recent weeks. Prices for fish, cooking oil, imported chicken have also skyrocketed.
Yusuhiro Tsumura is the WFP representative to The Gambia. Tsumura has commended The Gambia government for partnering with his organization to provide food aid to vulnerable communities.
A representative of the United Nations also spoke at the occasion.