How to increase agricultural productivity and enhance drought resilience

Photo credit: CCAFS – CGIAR

Exchange meeting with farmers on farmer-managed natural regeneration in Niger. Photo: P. Savadogo
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A real opportunity to scale up Climate-Smart Villages in Niger

In Niger, the World Bank is financing a project inspired by the Climate-Smart Village model of Kampa Zarma.

by Mathieu Ouédraogo (CCAFS West Africa)

In August, the 3N (Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens) facilitated a formulation workshop of a climate-smart agriculture project in Niger. The CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) West Africa programme was among the attendees of the workshop, which was led by the 3N High Commission in partnership with the World Bank.

About the World Bank-funded CSA project in Niger

Led by the 3N High Commission of Niger, it is a seven year-long project (from 2016 to 2023) with a total budget of USD 111 million. The objective is to increase agricultural productivity and enhance drought resilience of agro-pastoral systems in 60 targeted communes in Niger.

Although the project is primarily focused on building resilience, it will attempt to deliver on the triple win of climate-smart agriculture (CSA): improving productivity, building resilience, and reducing emission in selected locations in Niger. This is why the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and CCAFS were invited to participate in the formulation workshop of the Niger CSA project.

A real opportunity to scale up the Climate-Smart Village model across the country

With the Participatory Action Research (PAR) team of INRAN, CCAFS organized a field visit to the Kampa Zarma site to show a concrete CSV to a team of representatives of the World Bank, the HC3N and the project consultancy bureau. This was the first time a delegation of this importance visited a CSV in Niger. During the field visit, participants had discussions with people from Kampa Zampa village and visited various CSA options that are implemented in the individual fields of famers including Farmer Assisted Natural Tree Regeneration, zaï (or tassa) and improved varieties of millet.


Gaz et désertification / Gas and desertification (French text)

Français/ French

Photo credit: Le Monde

Niger : le gaz pour enrayer la désertification

Le avec AFP


L’objectif ? Promouvoir le gaz plutôt que le charbon de bois

Car « plus de 90 % » des ménages n’utilisent que le charbon de bois (fabriqué à partir de bois, alors même que le sous-sol contient du charbon fossile) pour se chauffer durant le court hiver nigérien, s’éclairer et cuisiner à longueur d’année, selon les services nigériens de l’environnement. Quelque 200 000 tonnes de bois sont ainsi consommées tous les ans, soit« l’équivalent de 100 000 hectares de forêt détruits », s’alarme Ibro Adamou, un agent des eaux et forêts.

L’impact est intenable pour l’aride Niger, dont le nord est recouvert par le Sahara. « Nous sommes aux portes du désert et nous continuons à détruire le peu de bois qui nous reste », peste Moustapha Kadi, dirigeant de l’ONG Coddae, qui promeut l’accès à l’énergie.

Depuis 1990, les zones forestières du sud ont perdu « un tiers » de leur surface, pour ne plus représenter que « 1 % du pays », d’après le Programme des Nations unies pour l’environnement (PNUE).

Lire aussi : L’Afrique n’est pas victime de ses frontières !

« Avant on coupait du bois à cinq kilomètres de Niamey. Aujourd’hui, il faut aller à 200 kilomètres, à l’intérieur du Burkina Faso voisin », explique Hama Maïgari, un vendeur de bois.
Faute d’arbres, le désert s’étend inéluctablement et « engloutit doucement les terres fertiles », au moment où « la population de plus en plus nombreuse en a besoin pour l’agriculture », déplore l’expert onusien.

Etat le plus fécond au monde, avec 7,6 enfants par femme, le Niger devrait voir sa population tripler d’ici 2050, pour passer de 17 à 56 millions d’habitants.

Les surfaces arables sont en ce sens autant de trésors pour un pays abonné aux crises alimentaires, notamment dues à la sécheresse et aux changements climatiques, où 80 % de la population vit d’une agriculture de subsistance.

Lire le texte en entier/ Read the full text: Le Monde

Best practices in sustainability in food security work

Photo credit: FAO

Supporting development of efficient livestock production systems in Senegal

Two initiatives in Niger and Senegal win awards for best practices in sustainable development

Two FAO projects have earned awards in an EXPO 2015 competition aimed at spotlighting best practices in sustainability in international food security work.

The “Best Sustainable Development Practices” competition was organized by the Feeding Knowledge platform, an EXPO 2015 initiative that is promoting greater cooperation in research and innovation related to food security, with a focus on policies, technologies, know-how and services and products. EXPO’s theme this year is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.

First prize in the category “Quantitative and Qualitative Enhancement of Crop Products” was awarded today in a ceremony at Expo to the project Intensification of agriculture by strengthening cooperative agro-input shops” (IARBIC), a collaboration between FAO, the Ministry of Agriculture of Niger, a dozen Producers Federations of Niger and a host of other development partners.

The project seeks to raise agricultural production in Niger by improving access to quality fertilizers. The capacities of a huge network of producers, cooperatives and farmers’ organizations are enhanced by training them in how to organize joint fertilizer orders, to manage the agro-input shops, including book-keeping and business management, as well as in new agricultural techniques required to increase productivity, such as the rational and appropriate use of quality fertilizers.

Over the last five years, around 260 agro-inputs shops have been established and 100 warehouses for storing harvest produce have been built, serving the needs of over 100,000 smallholder farmers. In addition to fertilizers, the input shops also sell seeds and offer phytosanitary and other services, as well as targeting women with sales of smaller quantities of fertilizer.

The project has also supported innovative financing schemes, such as the inventory credit system known as ‘warrantage‘. Furthermore, a 653,000 Euro guarantee fund was established for eight farmer federations who were thereby able to access credit for agro-business activities and for the creation of the Union of Producer Federations of Niger (GATANCI), supported by IARBIC.

Second prize for work in small rural communities

Second prize in the category “Sustainable development of small rural communities in marginal areas” went to another FAO project, Eradication of the tsetse fly Glossina palpalis gambiensis from the Niayes in Senegal.

On the UN Radio: Action against Desertification in 79 countries

Photo credit: UN Radio

Desertification in Niger

New programme against desertification for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific

A new programme against desertification in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific will help end hunger and adapt to climate change, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Caribbean drought -
Caribbean drought –

FAO and the European Union launched the €41 million, 4.5-year programme called Action against Desertification on Wednesday.

They announced that it will support sustainable land management in collaboration with the 79 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).

Read the full article: UN Radio

Chronic food and malnutrition crisis in the Sahel

Photo credit: UN NEWS Centre

Drought has affected residents of the Mbera refugee camp, Mauritania, in the Sahel region of Africa.

Photo: WFP/Justin Smith

UN, partners seek $2 billion to help millions of people across Africa’s Sahel region


The United Nations and its partners today launched an appeal for nearly $2 billion to provide vital humanitarian assistance to millions of people in nine countries across Africa’s Sahel region.

Some 145 million people in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal live in a region that is constantly challenged by chronic food and malnutrition crises, and is vulnerable to climate change, droughts and unpredictable rainfall.

The Sahel humanitarian appeal for 2015, launched today in New York and totalling $1.96 billion, is part of a regional multi-year strategy to respond better to the chronic challenges in the region by emphasizing early intervention and forging closer partnerships with governments and development actors.

Over 20 million people in the region are short of food, 2.6 million of whom need life-saving food assistance now; and nearly six million children under the age of five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2015.

Violent conflict and insecurity have worsened over the last 12 months in many of the countries. As a result, 2.8 million people have been uprooted from their homes, over one million more than this time last year.

Read the full article: UN NEWS Centre

Desertification: 20 year old publication

Photo credit: WVC 1998-02

Niamey, Niger – Reforestation project “Friendship Wood” 1997

Desertification – a threat to the Sahel


Desertification is a man-induced process that leads to soil nutrient depletion and reduction of biological productivity. In the Sahel slashing and burning of natural forest and bushland in order to clear land for annual agriculture is the main cause of this destruction. Farmers continue to degrade their environment in the agricultural zone even after the decimation of perennials. A few months after harvest, farmers cut the millet stalks and burn them leaving their fields exposed to strong winds until the next sowing season. These winds blow away the top soil, uproot seeds and seedlings and suffocate seedlings and plants where soil later accumulates.

Niamey, Niger 1998-02: TC-Dialogue's reforestation project - fruit trees in local school yard (Photo WVC)
Niamey, Niger 1998-02: TC-Dialogue’s reforestation project – fruit trees in local school yard (Photo WVC)

The Director of the National Department of the Environment in Niger said at the Direct Seeding seminar in Zinder that 250,000 hectares are being lost each year in Niger through desertification. This is equivalent to 2,500 km², an area about the same size as Luxembourg. The Department of the Environment, Zinder, explained that firewood destined for Zinder town is collected up to 200 km away.

Many people are concerned about the unsustainable slash-and-burn of rain forests in Brazil and its terrible effects on the local population through soil fertility loss. But few know about the similar destruction in the Sahel even though the consequences are just as dire for the Sahelians. Projects have tried to revegetate the region themselves but it is too vast. It is more appropriate for farmers to revegetate their own land as they are cultivating throughout the Sahel and can cover the area more effectively.

Read the full article: Eden Foundation

Increased production of fuel wood, fodder and non-timber forest products

Photo credit: Pixabay

Niger: Sand storm

Rights to Trees and Livelihoods in Niger

Traditionally, farmers in Niger and across the Sahel had developed practices to ensure the sustainable use of trees and tree products. But, beginning with the French colonial government, laws and regulations in Niger made all trees state property, and penalized farmers who felled or pruned trees.

With no incentive to maintain trees on their property—and with families to feed—farmers in need of agricultural land removed the trees and other natural vegetation. This had the unintended consequence of worsening erosion and reducing soil fertility and yields, which pushed farmers to cultivate ever more marginal lands.

Read the full article: allAfrica


Photo credit: WVC - 1998-02-ceinture-verte-03 copy.jpg
Photo credit: WVC – 1998-02-ceinture-verte-03 copy.jpg

Niamey, Niger 1998 : Participation of TC-Dialogue (Belgium) in the Ceinture Verte de Niamey (Green Belt around Niamey) of the National Reforestation Programme of Niger. Handing over of tree seeds and TerraCottem soil conditioner.

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