Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Niger will pitch new food security plan to international investors

The country of Niger is about to present a new plan for agriculture to international investors. Titled 3N or Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens, the plan includes 11 different programs to help the country feed itself. The programs range from improved irrigation, storage and transfer of milk, and diversifying seeds.

From the Guardian, reporter Liz Ford talked to 3N commissioner Hassane Mamoudou about the project.

Speaking to journalists in Brussels this week, Mamoudou said local civil society and grassroots organisations in the country's 266 municipalities can propose ideas for how the money is spent in their areas. "All actions will start at the grassroots," he said.
"We have to target where projects are implemented. Sorghum and millet will only grow in regions where there's enough rain. If a region does not have enough rain, we don't produce it [there]. Some areas will be for livestock breeding only. If fisheries are an activity in one region, we will focus on fisheries there. We won't do everything everywhere."
A proportion of the resources will be reserved for people from marginalised groups, who are sometimes excluded from programmes. All project proposals must come with an environment and social impact study, to prove sustainability and ensure they do not have a negative impact on the environment.
The 3N initiative has been in development since 2011, when the country's president, Mahamadou Issoufou, established an action plan and called on donors to help respond to the looming food crisis following a poor harvest. This swift action helped prevent a crisis becoming a famine.
Two-thirds of Niger is desert, and only around 11% of the land is suitable for farming. "The main problem is water. Water to drink, of course, water for agriculture, for animals. And now, we have food crises recurring [video]," said Mamoudou. "We used to have a food crisis every 10 years; now every seven, every five, every two years we have a crisis. They come closer and closer and are bigger and bigger."

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