News / Africa

New Farmer Aid Programs in Niger Show Positive Results

In this picture taken Saturday, July 21, 2012, children help prepare the evening meal in a courtyard in the remote village of Hawkantaki, Niger.
In this picture taken Saturday, July 21, 2012, children help prepare the evening meal in a courtyard in the remote village of Hawkantaki, Niger.
Jennifer Lazuta
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) reports that a 5-year agricultural initiative in Niger, aimed at giving farmers better access to inputs and credit, has increased crop yields in project villages, sometimes doubling them.  The FAO says the Nigerian government now plans to include this program in its new hunger reduction strategy.   

FOA says that putting the right inputs into the hands of farmers can significantly increase crop yields.

Maarten Roest, a communications officer at the FAO, said that while the number of people who don’t have enough to eat in Niger has declined “drastically” over the last 20 years, an estimated one out of every eight people remain undernourished.

"There’s [been] huge progress in this country in terms of combating hunger, but there’s also quite significant levels of people that are vulnerable," said Roest. "This relates to climatic issues, specifically drought that hit this region in Africa.  At the same time, there’s issues related to the recent political situation, which has not been too stable.  There’s underlying issues that relate to demographic growth - there’s ever more people to feed.  There’s also soil infertility."

Roest said that to help the country deal with some of these challenges, the FAO has been working with Niger’s Ministry of Agriculture to get farmers to produce more food on the same amount of land.  

"The mechanism that has been designed to do this is through so-called input shops, where farmers get inputs for doing agriculture," said Roest. "We’re talking about seeds and fertilizer and tools and things like that.  Input shops throughout the country run by farmer organizations to ensure that the right inputs get into the hands of the farmers who need them."

Roest said that since these input shops were first introduced in 2008, the productivity of basic crops in the country, such as millet and sorghum, has in some cases doubled.

He said there are now almost 800 input shops in Niger.  This covers about half of Niger’s agricultural villages.

Inputs are not the only thing farmers lack.  Roest said another key component of the program is access to credit.  

"One of the systems that has been established there is a thing called "Warrantage,” which is if you harvest, you do not immediately sell it," said Roest. "But you go to a broker who puts it in stock and, in return, gives you a credit or a loan.  With that loan you will be able to either buy better seeds for the next season or do other activities in your village to make money."

Roest said that once the lean season ends and prices begin to rise, farmers can then sell their stock at the higher price, pay back their loan and pocket the difference.

The FAO says that this system is especially beneficial for women farmers, who can use the extra money to send their children to school or buy more nutritious food for their families.

Roest said the government plans to incorporate both the input shop model and microfinance scheme into their new national hunger reduction strategy, called 3N, or Nigerians Nourishing Nigerians.  The strategy was presented at a high-level meeting of the African Union in Addis Ababa on Monday.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More