The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has offered the government of Ghana 2,750 tonnes of cereals to support its school feeding program under Free SHS policy, according to a Daily Graphic report.

The donation followed a request from the government to provide the cereals, which were stored in the warehouses of the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) in Tamale and Yendi in the Northern Region under the Ecowas Food Security Reserves.

At a ceremony at the NAFCO warehouse to officially hand over the grains to the government of Ghana, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Sekou Sangare, said the government of Ghana has committed to refilling the warehouse grain for grain by March 2019.

The cereals comprise of 1,000 tonnes of maize, 750 tonnes of white rice, 500 tonnes of millet and 500 tonnes of sorghum.

“Like the cereal stocks of 6,528 tonnes given to Niger and 4,303 tonnes to Burkina Faso last August, the 2,750 tonnes of cereals to Ghana that constitute the object of our handover ceremony yesterday have all been purchased from small producers of our region,” Mr. Sangare explained.

He added that the handover was the concrete response of the ECOWAS Commission to the request of the government of Ghana’s commitment to replenish the grains.

Food Security Reserves

The Regional Food Security Reserves was created on February 2013 in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire by ECOWAS Heads of State and Government during their 42nd Ordinary Summit aimed at complementing the efforts of the member states to provide rapid and diversified food and nutrition assistance.

The stocks were stored in warehouses in Ghana, Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

The stocks – maize, millet, sorghum, and rice – were stored to feed citizens in selected member countries in times of need.

According to Mr. Sangare, the grains bought from producers in the sub-region not only offers markets and business opportunities but the Regional Food Security Reserves allows member countries to quickly express their solidarity to countries whose populations were in dire need of food and nutrition following drought, natural disasters such as floods, landslides among others.

Sincere collaboration

The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Annual Crops, Dr. Sagre Bambangi, assured Mr. Sangare the country’s Planting for Food and Jobs policy, the government would have no problem replacing the stock.

He announced that the government was expanding its warehouse drive by 80,000, assuring that the collaboration entered into between the government and ECOWAS would be strengthened.