AfDB helps to enhance food security in Niger
Niger, a country in the heart of the Sahel-Saharan region, is faced with recurrent food crises due to erratic, insufficient rains and other factors. Repeated drought and desert encroachment in recent decades justify the option taken by Niger to retain the mobilization of water resources as a fundamental part of its rural development strategy whose ultimate goal is to ensure the country’s food security.
With funding from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), the Water Mobilization Project to Enhance Food Security in Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder Regions (PMERSA-MTZ) is being implemented in Niger and benefits from a UA 40,443,000 financing: 9.34 million from the African Development Fund (ADF), UA 21.02 million from GAFSP, UA 9.56 million from the Spanish Cooperation and UA 0.52 million from the Government and beneficiaries.
Launched in 2011, the project focuses its interventions on three components: (i) water collection and mobilization infrastructure; (ii) strengthening agricultural production and beneficiaries support activities (farmers, herders and authorities); and (iii) project management.
Major project achievements
In May 2016, the project recorded a disbursement rate of 43.5% on the GAFSP grant. Regarding project implementation, PMERSA-MTZ has, over the past two years, experienced real progress in terms of achievements, including the:
I. Building of 14 thresholds and 29 thresholds are currently underway;
II. Sinking of 500 concrete garden wells, 2,000 mini agricultural boreholes, 2,500 motor pumps and 125,000 ml of Californian network;
III. The construction and rehabilitation of 170 km of tracks;
IV. Rehabilitation of 6 mini dams and 4 new mini dams are in progress and the deepening of 8 ponds;
V. Completion of 4 km of waterbank protection, with 3.5 km currently underway;
VI. Completion of rehabilitation works of 120 ha of small irrigated areas and the development of 165 ha is currently underway;
VII. works continuation on the Kantché dike and processing of the Gouchi ravine;
VIII. Sinking and rehabilitation of 74 village wells;
IX. Building of 8,700 ml hedges;
X. Structuring, organizing and supporting farmers' organizations, providing extension and advisory support and implementing environmental protection work.
Besides the effects experienced through achievements and works mentioned above, the project is considered a catalyst project in the project area in different aspects:
- PARTNERSHIP: The project continues to commit to the creation of active collaborative relationships established with specialized agencies (INRAN, BEEEI), decentralized state technical services (Rural Engineering, water, environment, agriculture, livestock) and other projects involved in the areas concerned, thus allowing actions to be carried out in a harmonious setting with a spirit of synergy and complementarity.
- ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: The environmental protection and soil conservation aspect has been reinforced by the recovery of 812 hectares of land treated biologically by plants from village nurserymen and produced by private individuals. The first significant effects resulting from water mobilization works and environmental protection actions have already been satisfactory to the beneficiary population.
- BUILDING THE CAPACITY OF THE PRODUCERS: The project has trained 424 experts and 175 livestock assistants (general average of 30% of women). Training in community life and accounting management has been provided to 195 women and 37 men, as well as 232 members and 61 women's groups which are beneficiaries of IGA equipment.
- PROMOTION OF INCOME GENERATING ACTIVITES (IGA): With regard to IGA for women and young people, the project has proceeded with the procurement and installation of equipment and small processing/preservation materials and transport equipment of agricultural products for 61 women's groups.
In 46 months of implementation and despite implementation delays due to previous studies, the project’s overall assessment is positive, the impact and effects are being felt and have, in particular, led to the:
- Creation of 15,940 permanent jobs;
- Production of 6,680 ha acreage;
- Increased production (25,342 additional tons) in irrigated and flood-recession agriculture (2013-2014);
- Organization of communities through the creation of 205 different project management committees with 2,576 members, including 1,254 women (48.7%);
- Creation of synergies in the project area due to the strengthening of partnerships with some specialized agencies, decentralized state technical projects and services.
With all the current and future outcomes, the project is a good example of a successful partnership between the Bank and Niger. In this context, the project aims at the durability and sustainability of its activities. Concretely, special attention should be paid to the sustainability of future infrastructure and modalities that will ensure better efficiency of support systems.