Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Niger poised to have a record harvest

After suffering a massive drought, Niger is expecting its biggest harvest in over 20 years. When the drought ended last year, heavy rainfalls caused massive flooding. The fields on the outskirts of the flooded areas have given the crops plenty of water for this expected record harvest.

From Reuters AlertNet, writers Aboulaye Massalatchi and David Lewis tell us about this quick turnaround for Niger.

"There will be an overall cereal surplus of 1.5 million tonnes. We have not seen this level of production over the last 20 years," said Malick Sadelher, Niger's minister for agriculture and livestock.

Uranium-producing Niger straddles the Sahara and its land comprises large tracts of desert. Those regions which can be cultivated suffer from regular droughts.

He said the harvest was expected to be 41 percent above the average of the last five years and 16 percent above levels in 2008, the country's last decent crop, due to decent rainfall and reduced crop pests.

Sadelher warned, however, that the figures hid shortages in 16 of the country's 35 regions, where flooding had damaged crops.

"The process of identifying vulnerable areas is ongoing through a joint government-donor study," he added.

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