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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid