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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.