Gambia’s government say it will be distributing 2,500 tons of rice to the less privileged around the impoverished nation donated to Banjul by Beijing.
The West African nation also receives similar donations from Japan but was sold to the public by ex-President Yahya Jammeh and the money plowed into his personal accounts.
“The rice will be freely distributed across the seven regions of The Gambia, mainly to the less privileged,” said Minister for Agriculture Omar Jallow.
“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.”
Rice is the country’s staple food and the nation imports more than $50 million worth of the commodity every year.
A self-food sufficiency drive to ban the importation of rice by Jammeh in 2016 failed amid concerns for food security and growing hunger.
The selling of the grant rice at a price far lower than most businesses by the ex-ruler led to the closure of many shops that could not compete to keep their doors open.
A former nephew to Jammeh, Pa Bojang, who oversaw the business said the former president could have sold the rice and put the money into state funds to help the poor.
Jammeh was defeated in last year’s elections and forced to flee to Equatorial Guinea, where he is living a quiet life as a farmer and herbalist.
The former wrestler and military guard turned AIDS herbalist and president stands accused of corruption and theft.
The Gambia’s new government has pledged to run the affairs of the differently from Jammeh, and the free distribution of the donated rice is one apparent show of that commitment.