By G9ija

The Nigerian Government has said it borrowed over 5,000mt of grains from the Economic Community of West Africa States to feed citizens as hunger bites harder.

Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba-Shehuri, disclosed this while receiving the 3,999 tonnes of cereals donated to Nigeria by ECOWAS with its donors and financial partners.

The minister said the donation would be used to support the most vulnerable populations to help mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic 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.

“In order to address the incessant worrying food crisis in the West African Sub- region especially the Sahel, the Heads of Government of ECOWAS member states decided to set up Regional Food Security Reserve (RFSR) Programme.

“This necessitated the signing of a Contract Agreement between ECOWAS and the Ministry’s Department of Food & Strategic Reserve on 7th July, 2017.

“This includes keeping a substantial quantity of food in her Food Reserve that can be used for interventions in case of emergencies and to boost food security within the ECOWAS member States.”