5,000mt of Grains Loaned from ECOWAS to Avert Food Crisis – FG Says

No fewer than 5,000 metric tonnes of grains were borrowed from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to curb food insecurity further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri disclosed this when the Commission donated grains to vulnerable households in the country, last weekend.

ECOWAS donated nearly 4,000 tonnes of grains to the Federal Government to cushion the effects of the crisis on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and children.

On the grains borrowed, Shehuri said that the government intends to repay the loan, grain for grain.

He added the government had plans to repay the loan before COVID-19, but other crises resulting from the pandemic stalled the repayment.

“The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria loaned 5,000mt of assorted grains from ECOWAS Stock which we 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,” he said.

The Minister of State, however, explained that the loan was an agreement between ECOWAS and its member states, to help mitigate food crisis.

According to him, this agreement was signed between the Commission and the Ministry’s Department of Food & Strategic Reserve in July 2017.

He said, “In order to address the incessant food crisis in the West African Sub-region, especially in 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 Contract Agreement between ECOWAS and the Ministry’s Department of Food & Strategic Reserve on July 7, 2017.

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


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