The Federal Government has disclosed plans of borrowing 5, 000 metric tonnes of grains from the Economic Commission of West African States, ECOWAS, to meet up food demand in the country.
This was made known by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, while receiving 3.399 metric tonnes of cereal from the Economic Commission of West Africa States (ECOWAS) in conjunction with its donors and financial partners as humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable populations in mitigating the effect of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Nigeria.
Shehuri who was at the handing over ceremony at the Grain Depot in Hotoro, Kano State, appreciated ECOWAS, developmental partners and Kano State Government for their contribution and support towards averting food crisis in Nigeria.
He said, “The Government of Federal Republic of Nigeria loaned 5,000MT of assorted grains from ECOWAS Stock which was agreed to be paid back on grain for grain basis.
“Modalities had been put in place to replace the ECOWAS Stock before the advent of COVID-19 pandemic. That notwithstanding, I can assure you that the stock will be replaced in due course.”
Also speaking was the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Mrs Sadiya Umar Farouq, assured that the food items will be distributed to vulnerable Nigerians equitably.
“The food items provided by the ECOWAS Commission will reach the most vulnerable in our society, which will work towards mitigating the risk of food insecurity at this critical time”, Farouq said.
The Minister acknowledged the effort of her Agric counterpart in facilitating the delivery of the food items in the country from ECOWAS and partners.
Meanwhile, in a goodwill message, the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubariu Dada, commended and appreciated ECOWAS Commission for its intervention towards mitigating the impact of OVID-19 pandemic in the sub-region, and promised support of the Federal Government of Nigeria towards the programmes of the ECOWAS Commission.
Earlier, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Water Resources and Environment, Sangare Sekou, said, “In compliance with the management rules adopted by the member States, food from the Regional Food Security Reserve alongside with national governments efforts, Countries with larger populations that are most stricken by food insecurity are ones chosen to receive food donation.”
According to Sekou the donations were targeted at the most vulnerable populations living in Burkina Faso, the Republic of Niger, Mali and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, mostly in the Northern Region.
He commended the European Union, French Development Agency, among others for technical and financial assistance provided currently to ECOWAS.
By Ebikiseiye Thompson, Abuja