ECOWAS helps Nigeria address food emergency
It will be the first test case of the newly-established ECOWAS Regional Food Security Reserve. Following a request from the Nigerian government in September 2016, ECOWAS and the Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) signed a memorandum of understanding on 22 May that outlines the areas of cooperation. According to the ECOWAS Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF), ECOWAS will soon deliver food products to Nigeria worth USD 1 million, notably 1 650 tonnes of cereals (white maize, sorghum, millet and rice). NEMA will ensure the local distribution to the most vulnerable target groups such as internally displaced persons, pregnant or breastfeeding women and children. Of the 9.6 million people in need of food and nutrition assistance in the Sahel and West Africa (March-May 2017), some 7.1 million live in Nigeria: 3.2 million in Borno State, 800 000 in Adamawa State and 600 000 in Yobe State and the rest in other northern states. Some 44 000 more Nigerians currently face the threat of famine, mostly in Borno State. As the main component of the ECOWAS Food Storage Strategy, the Regional Food Security Reserve constitutes a third line of defence in response to food crises, after local/community level and national food reserves. Adopted in February 2013 at the ECOWAS Heads of State Conference in Yamoussoukro, the reserve is an important instrument of regional solidarity.