African Development Bank led project boosts grain production in Niger
The Water Mobilization Project to Enhance Food Security in the Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder Regions implemented between 2011 and 2018 in Niger was financed through a loan of US$11m from the African Development Fund and a grant of US$28.7m from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.
The AfDB is Africa’s leading development finance institution, comprising three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). It is on the ground in 44 African countries with an external office in Japan.
The stated aim of the AfDB is to contribute to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.
It directly involved 218,000 people in the three regions of south-central Niger, with another nearly 476000 indirectly affected. These three regions are home to around 56%, or 8.9 million people, of the country’s population.
The team behind the initiative said grain production goals were 94% achieved.
“A very clear improvement in the availability of agricultural and livestock products was demonstrated, and income for the population has increased due to higher yields, commercialized agricultural production and the revitalization of production areas,” they noted.
Livestock plays a crucial role in generating income, nutrition and health in Niger, creating the means to afford nutritious diets, education, health and other household needs.
The project entailed the establishment of various types of infrastructure including irrigation projects, dam building, water and soil conservation techniques, and the construction of 74 wells and 273 km of rural tracks with the goal of developing and securing agricultural. It also supported product commercialization and, more broadly, improved the living conditions of the rural residents involved.
Furthermore, increasing production, said the AfDB, necessitated accompanying producers to promote and better and more sustainably manage the new infrastructure. This was done specifically by outreach activities, the construction of 124 agricultural buildings that included grain warehouses, animal feed warehouses, seedstock centers, it added.
The project also saw the promotion of revenue-generating activities for women and youth.
Another project, initiated in April 2019, and run the Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has supported the small livestock market in Niger through specific interventions.
The project, said the institute, has improved access to feeds for livestock farmers at a price some 30% lower than the market price, it developed the proximity feed market managed by livestock farmers and improved revenues in Maradi for women and youth involved in feed activities.