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

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

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

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs