Today, Niger ranks second to last in the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index, with close to 50% of the population living on less than $2 a day – most of them farmers. The agricultural sector accounts for almost 40% of the GDP of Niger and employs three-quarters of the population. Agriculture mostly relies on small-scale family farms that combine rain-fed crops – mainly cereals and vegetables. A semi-arid zone, used for pastoralism and rain-fed agriculture, separates the northern and southern regions. Irrigated land is less than 1%, but irrigated farming accounts for about 30% of the country’s agricultural production. Rural farming families own, on average, five acres of dry land. Some families also have access to small plots of irrigated land (less than one hectare). Land availability per household/person have been declining, given population growth and the concentration of inhabitants in rural areas.
The Water Mobilisation Project to Enhance Food in Maradi, Tahoua, and Ziner Regions (PMERZA-MTZ) raises and safeguards agricultural output by creating agricultural, silvicultural, and pastoral development centers located in surface water collection sites. This involves constructing and rehabilitating water-spreading bunds, mini-dams, and irrigation areas over approximately 17,600 hectares, ensuring land tenure security for developed sites, and building village wells, rural roads, and storage infrastructure. The project partners with an NGO, Plan International, to carry out income-generating activities for women through the distribution of postharvest equipment and capacity building. These outcomes will increase irrigated surface area, reduce postharvest losses, increase agricultural output and value added, and contribute to climate-smart agriculture co-benefits.
- Climate Change
To date, the project has supported the construction and rehabilitation of 347 kilometers of roads and the development of new irrigation and drainage schemes on 126 hectares of land. The project has completed the development and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure such as concrete wells, mini-dams, and ponds as well as storage facilities. The project has encouraged the adoption of new production techniques and technologies such as improved seeds, fertilizers, compost, integrated pest management that have been applied on 15,506 hectares of agricultural land. So far, 204,835 poor people, 45 percent of whom have been women, have benefited from the project, which is expected to improve the living standards of 213,000 people—over 39,000 households—including more than 106,000 women.
Cheibany Moustapha Cheikh Abdallahi
Official Project Documents:
- Cover Letters with Endorsements: Minister of Finance and Agriculture (French) and from the EU (French)
- GAFSP Proposal
- Agricultural Strategy (French)
- Investment Plan (French)
- Agriculture Strategy Chart (French)
- Technical Review Investment Plan (French)