Nigeria donates 1,000 tonnes of grain to Niger

ABUJA, July 27 (Reuters)- Nigeria has donated 1,000 tonnes of grain to its famine-hit northern neighbour Niger and is collecting funds for more deliveries by next week, Nigerian officials said on Wednesday.

Almost 4 million people in the landlocked desert nation are affected by a food crisis because of a drought last year, and tens of thousands of children are at risk of starving to death.

"The Federal Government has already sent 1,000 metric tonnes of grain as an immediate action and will be sending more between now and next week," said Information Minister Frank Nweke, adding the grain was a mixture of millet, maize and rice.

The drought also hit some northern Nigerian states, such as Katsina, where an international agency is feeding hundreds of severely malnourished children.

Rising grain prices in northern Nigeria have already prompted the government to release 2,000 tonnes of grain this month from its strategic reserve at subsidised prices in Bauchi state. But residents say shortages continue to keep prices high.

Nweke said Nigeria had set up a committee to coordinate its Niger relief effort, and four northern Nigerian states had already donated 115 million naira ($870,000).

Separately, Nigeria's Agriculture Ministry said it had sold 5,000 tonnes of sorghum to the World Food Programme for delivery to another northern neighbour, Chad.

(Additional reporting by Tume Ahemba and Ardo Hazzad)


Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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