KANO – The Nigerian Government and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today launched a cash and food assistance program in the three urban COVID-19 hotspots of Abuja, Kano and Lagos. The Government has released 2,000 metric tons of food from its Strategic Grain Reserve (valued at $1 million), while the U.N. World Food Programme is releasing $3 million to provide cash assistance.

Working together with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, this is the first time that the U.N. World Food Programme is expanding its program in Nigeria to reach people in towns and cities – where millions of people are threatened with hunger and malnutrition due to the socio-economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across Nigeria – Africa’s biggest economy and most populous country – people who earn the least have lost the most as a result of the pandemic. Approximately 90 percent of the population depend on a daily wage to survive, and many of these people live in urban areas. These informal workers have lost up to 80 percent of their earnings. With a lack of income and increasing food prices, more and more people are finding it extremely difficult to meet their food needs. The prices of basic cereals have risen by 15 percent in the last month alone, and the national price of millet – Nigeria’s staple food – has doubled over the past year. To cope with hunger, families are being forced to borrow money and food, or sell their remaining assets – plunging them deeper into poverty.

“This partnership has enabled us to save the lives of thousands of people in Kano State during these difficult times,” said Governor Ganduje at a joint press conference held today.

Distribution of cash and food began in Kano State to complement the Government’s ongoing efforts to cushion the impact of the pandemic. In the coming weeks and months, the U.N. World Food Programme will continue to work with the Governments of Abuja and Lagos to support the most vulnerable families.

To minimize the risk of exposure to the virus, the U.N. World Food Programme has arranged for home deliveries of cash and food. In Kano, food will be delivered using the local ‘ke-ke‘ rickshaw service. In Lagos, the U.N. World Food Programme is partnering with the State Government to deliver food using boats to reach families living in the riverine community of Makoko. Meanwhile, in all three urban areas, cash will be transferred through pre-paid debit cards or online bank transfers.

“The Government of Nigeria has shown great commitment and leadership in responding to this crisis. This is exactly what we need during this time of pandemic and beyond to achieve Zero Hunger in Nigeria,” said Paul Howe, U.N. World Food Programme Country Director and Representative.

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Broadcast quality video available upon request – please contact WFP.Media@wfp.org

The U.N. World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

In Nigeria, the U.N. World Food Programme is working in the conflict-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe – supporting some 1.8 million internally displaced people, returnees, children under the age of five and pregnant or breastfeeding women with life-saving food and nutrition assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme is also providing technical support to strengthen Nigeria’s government-led social protection systems and is scaling up its direct support in areas where COVID-19 threatens to drive up extreme levels of vulnerability.

The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development was established on Wednesday August 21st, 2019 by an Executive pronouncement by the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, H.E., Muhammadu Buhari GCFR at the inauguration of Ministers for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Ministry positions itself in light of the prevailing Humanitarian situation in the country through its Vision, Mission and Core values to promote Human dignity and Integration of basic Humane benevolence and compassion in the treatment of all Nigerians.

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For more information, contact:

Shaza Moghraby, WFP/New York, Mob. + 1 929 289 9867
Steve Taravella, WFP/ Washington, Mob.  +1 202 770 5993


ABUJA – A training carried out by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Yobe State, North East Nigeria, has improved methods of food storage after the harvest season.
WFP, in collaboration with the Agricultural Development Project (ADP) and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), trained 300 farmers on post-harvest best practices – using hermetic storage technology.

Hermetic storage bags are airtight and waterproof, allowing farmers to store and save grains from infestations or destruction by insects, rodents, mold and moisture, thus preserving them for long periods of time.

A bag-opening ceremony on July 10, 2019 in Gashua, Yobe State, marked the highpoint of the training which aimed to reduce the losses suffered by farmers due to improper food storage.

According to figures by the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Nigeria loses around $9 billion every year due to poor post-harvest management. More than 30 percent of staple food grains (corn, sorghum, millet) are lost due to poor storage, while 60 percent of vegetables perish.

After the training, each of the farmers received eight specially-made, airtight, 110-pound bags to store their grains for six months until the prices of grains rose in the market. The farmers stored cowpeas in the new airtight bags, while others stored theirs in the traditional ways.

“When the bags were opened in Gashua, the results were astonishing,” says Ms. Eden Guizaw, the WFP officer leading the Post-Harvest Loss Management Program. “Ninety percent of the grains stored in the traditional way were lost, while 100 percent of those stored in the hermetic (airtight) bags were intact. It was amazing; indeed, beyond my imagination.”

One of the farmers, Hajia Taannabi, recorded a huge profit in her sales by using the hermetic storage bags to preserve her grains.

 “I stored my grain with the hermetic bags, without losing any to infestation or rodents. I sold each mudu (measure for grains) for N400 and gained N300 on each mudu and was able to feed my family and pay my children’s school fees,” Hajia said.

Building on the success of the pilot project, WFP will train more farmers nationwide in the use of the hermetic storage technology in the next phase of the program – depending on the availability of funds. “Investments in this type of training and technology are critical to making progress in reducing food insecurity over time,” says Sarah Longford, Acting Country Director for WFP Nigeria. WFP is also encouraging local businesses by supporting the production in Nigeria of the hermetic storage bags by some Nigerian private enterprises.

By promoting hermetic storage in Nigeria, WFP aims to contribute to post-harvest loss reduction and boost food security to achieve zero hunger.

The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters and laying the foundations for a better future.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA & @WFP_Nigeria

For more information, please contact:

  • Kelechi Onyemaobi, WFP | Kelechi.onyemaobi@wfp.org | Mob: +234 705 296 5692
  • Adedeji Ademigbuji, WFP | Adedeji.ademigbuji@wfp.org | Mob: +234 907 0251 522
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