BURKINA FASO – The officials of Burkina Faso has taken the exceptional step of allowing the export of millet, maize, sorghum, and beans to Niger as a gesture of solidarity with their neighbor.

The announcement was made in a press release published on August 11 by the Ministry of Industrial Development, Trade, Handicrafts, and Small and Medium Enterprises.

According to the ministry, this approach represents an exception to the ban on exports of this category of basic foodstuffs, which include millet, maize, sorghum, and cowpea, since November 2022.

“In solidarity with the people of Niger, an operation to issue the aforementioned special grain export authorizations will be carried out on an exceptional basis for exports exclusively to Niger,” the statement read

The decision comes after the coup that overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, followed by ECOWAS’s decision during an extraordinary Summit which brought together on July 30, Heads of State of its member countries, to apply a total embargo on Niger.

However, observers believe that this sanction could be disastrous for the population insofar as the country depends heavily on the international community for its grain supply.

Currently, it is estimated that Niger needs to import a minimum of 600,000 tons of grain this year to avert a humanitarian crisis.

In the statement, Burkina Faso expressed concern about the consequences of these sanctions, in particular, their impact on the supply of consumer food products. Therefore, the decision to permit the export of essential cereals is a crucial step toward alleviating this crisis and preventing the escalation of food shortages.

Sita Adamou, president of the Nigerien Association for the Defense of Human Rights (ANDDH) while speaking on the subject earlier declared that these measures have already begun to affect the populations of Niger who regularly face food and health difficulties.

Niger is a net importer of cereals. While the world market for this category of foodstuffs is about to experience new troubles, the ongoing state of coup coupled with trade hurdles in the African cereal market might further escalate food shortage.

Recently, the Ministry of Internal Trade published a decree prohibiting, until further notice, the export of millet and rice as the government takes measures to ensure the availability of the population’s diet on the local market.

According to the state, this initiative is aimed at ensuring the regular supply of cereals in the national market and should make it possible to curb the risk of inflation of food products.

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