The International Fund for Agricultural Development of the United Nations (IFAD) has announced a project to support around 210,000 poor rural households in Niger that are vulnerable to climate shocks and food insecurity
This US$194.66mn project will particularly target young people and women who are especially vulnerable to climate and other shocks. It aims to help them to access promising rural employment, increase their incomes and build their resilience. The project will have crosscutting impact on the Sustainable Development Goals, starting with SDGs 1 and 2 (no poverty, no hunger), then continuing to gender equality and women’s empowerment and clean water and sanitation (SDGs 5 and 6).
In Niger, 85 per cent of the active population depends on small-scale family farming and livestock production, which accounts for 43.4 per cent of GDP. Improving small-scale agricultural production and productivity is vital to reducing poverty and improving food and nutrition security in rural areas in Niger.
“PRECIS comes at the right time,” said Jakob Tuborgh, country director for Niger. Tuborgh added, “The COVID-19 pandemic is posing a threat to the government’s ambitious poverty reduction targets; this new project will address the major issues of food and nutrition insecurity in Niger, and will create jobs for young rural people while also contributing to several Sustainable Development Goals.”
PRECIS will promote food crops like maize, millet, rice and sorghum and develop market gardening, poultry and small livestock husbandry. To mitigate the effects of desertification and climate change, the project will also promote technologies for sustainable water and land resource management. It will rehabilitate and construct market infrastructure to increase access so that producers can sell their products.
PRECIS will build the capacity of small-scale farmers and their organisations in production, storing and processing of perishable products, and feeding, good nutrition and hygiene practices. It is hoped that these measure will ensure food availability during the “hungry season”.
The project will promote vocational training and rural entrepreneurship skills for young people and help create jobs for in the agropastoral sector. It will aim to reach transhumant pastoralists – Tuareg nomads - and also involve persons with disabilities in its activities.
Particular attention will be placed on literacy activities and interactive training on gender issues and women’s leadership. The project will also encourage rural financial institutions to develop products that meet the needs of the small-scale farmers.