The African Development Bank contributes to strengthening food security in the Niger regions of Maradi and Tillabéry – Niger

In 2017, Hamsa Hamidou, 32, from Simiri, in the Tillabéry region of southwestern Niger, received a cow. Three years later he sold it and used the money to buy a sheep and a ewe. “I fattened them up and then I sold them. I continued like this and three years later I had four ewes, three sheep and a cow,” he says.

Supported by the Program for Strengthening Resilience to Food and Nutritional Insecurity in the Sahel (P2RS), Hamidou’s small business has allowed him to be financially independent and support his family.

Launched in 2015 and completed this year, the program was financed by the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group, through a grant and a loan of $22.79 million each.

Ibrahim Bako, 40, also benefited from the program. A resident of Nakwana in the Maradi region of southern Niger, Bako got help to tackle drifting sand dunes, a major agricultural hazard in the region. “The dunes bury our fields and our wells. We mobilized our young people and used all the means at our disposal to solve the problem,” he explained. “We stabilized 10 hectares initially, then 30 hectares the second year. The success was such that we not only secured the dunes, but also obtained funds to sow herbaceous plants and 12,000 seedlings. Today, the site is rich in biodiversity thanks to the return of wildlife and plant species.

A management committee of 10 people has been set up to protect the site from wandering animals. The committee has implemented a tax on owners whose animals are on the site and puts the money that is collected into its account to replace destroyed or dead plants.

The program has also set up a “goat kit” which has enabled women in four communes to increase their production of goat’s milk. They sold over 8,070 liters for a turnover of $4,400. Much of the milk was used to improve household nutrition, especially for children and babies. Residents of these communities also sold 38 animals for $1,150 to cover vital social needs such as medicine, food and payment for weddings. Donations and personal consumption, such as for the Tabaski sacrifice and baptisms, amounted to about 80 goats, worth nearly $1,700.

The program has also invested in water monitoring. Small-scale irrigation works have made 650 hectares arable, boosting agricultural production (food and cash crops) for 6,500 households, i.e. nearly 45,500 beneficiaries. The additional production, which mainly benefits women, amounted to 13,261 tonnes during the last crop year.

The program has shown that these investments can be profitable and can significantly improve farmers’ well-being and diversify their sources of income.

Twenty-six water points (boreholes, pumping stations and wells) have been built and meet the needs of approximately 12,000 people and 20,914 head of cattle. The construction of 16 village and urban water systems, including six hand pumps and seven small-scale drinking water points, provided water to more than 50,000 people and 19,981 tropical livestock through multi-village connections.

“The project, which started in 2015, was carried out in 25 municipalities spread over seven of the eight regions of Niger. It focused on the municipalities most exposed to climate change, where populations are particularly vulnerable,” explains Allachi Boukar, national coordinator of the P2RS program in Niger. “We have developed an innovative approach with, in particular, the establishment of “farmer field schools” with technical supervision. People see the positive changes for themselves, which helps change mindsets and farming practices.

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