Promotion of productive agriculture
Title: Promotion of productive agriculture
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Planning
Overall term: 2019 to 2021
Niger is highly prone to food shortages and famine due to its geographical location, the limited availability of water, the soil conditions, a rapidly growing population and its extreme dependency on agriculture. Food shortages and famine are occurring at ever-shorter intervals. Agricultural production is not well diversified and is technically rudimentary. Rainfed farming, a form of arable farming which uses rainwater without any additional irrigation, is the main farming method used in Niger. The yields from rainfed farming are therefore highly dependent on precipitation and are increasingly unreliable due to the effects of climate change, thus requiring supplementary irrigation of arable land. Agricultural land which uses additional small-scale irrigation currently makes up only one per cent of the total arable land in Niger.
Small-scale irrigation offers a high potential for economic development, making smallholders less dependent on rainfall, which would increase productivity and enable agriculture to become more resilient to climate change. The population is very committed to small-scale irrigation, which is a good basis for its development; however, despite this potential and successes to date, farmers are only making insufficient use of small-scale irrigation.
Farmers in the Tillabéri, Tahoua and Agadez regions realise the potential of small-scale irrigation in a sustainable manner.
The project will improve the implementation of small-scale irrigation and create good conditions for promoting its continuation and further development. For example, this includes systematic advice to and the training of responsible actors within the National Agricultural Advisory System (Système national de conseil agricole, SNCA) and the Niger Small-Scale Irrigation Strategy (Stratégie de la Petite Irrigation au Niger, SPIN).
In addition, the project will improve the conditions for the environmental and socio-economic sustainability of small-scale irrigation in the project regions. The project will expand the knowledge of the service providers to develop a system of environmental monitoring of groundwater volumes, water and soil quality and residue from pesticides in the products produced using small-scale irrigation in the project region. These measures will be complemented by building and maintaining infrastructure that rehabilitates and conserves water and the soil.
In addition, the project will train extension workers or offer them advanced training. One of the project focuses will be on the application of modern information technology, such as the use of smartphones to diagnose pests and to access weather information.
Finally, the project aims to improve agricultural advisory services in a sustainable manner. To this end, it will train representatives from umbrella organisations and chambers of agriculture, etc., to be efficient service providers.