Knowledge exchange and discussion with delegation from Niger at Noragric

During a visit of Niger’s minister of foreign affairs Mohamed Bazoum, DCG took part in a discussion about research and development options concerning agriculture and livestock production in Niger.

The delegation from Niger was in Norway to explore opportunities for collaboration, and it was during a visit to Noragric at the University of Life Sciences in Ås, that DCG was invited to present its experiences from the neighboring country Mali. DCG has through its long time cooperation with Noragric and Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER) in Mali developed techniques that have proved efficient in improving food security.

Landlocked in the middle of the dry Sahel region, Niger is continuously listed as one of the poorest countries with the highest population growth in the world. The country has only about 15 per cent arable land and due to instable precipitation rates and a high risk of drought, Niger is suffering from insufficient agricultural production and food insecurity. In addition, the lack of stability in the neighbouring countries Libya, Mali and (Northern) Nigeria has contributed to increased insecurity.

In spite of its disadvantages, Niger, which is described by Minister Bazoum as “the most Sahelian country”, is currently experiencing one of the world’s most rapid rates of GDP growth due to its richness in natural resources like petrol and uranium. Moreover, the government of Niger has initiated ambitious plans to reduce poverty and increase food security – “3N – Nigeriens nourish Nigeriens”. Nevertheless, problems caused by the effects of climate change and environmental degradation remain to be tackled, particularly in the field of sustainable agricultural intensification.

DCG’s projects are conducted in close cooperation between civil society organizations, governmental structures and research institutions from both, partner countries and Norway, and are often developed in direct partnership with farmers through action research. The cooperation between DCG and Noragric in Mali has focused on climate change adaptation and sustainable intensification of agriculture in dryland areas. Different technologies have been developed and tested out through collaborative research that includes exchange visits, training of young researchers, publications for knowledge spreading and, most importantly, the development of best practices. Among those are seed-priming, micro-dosing of mineral fertilizer, mechanic sowing of seeds and fertilizer, the use of manure and straw for improved soil quality, agroforestry, improved forage and better management of pasture land.

An interesting aspect is that the adoption rates of these technologies have been highest in the region of Mopti, which has very similar environmental and geographic conditions as the region around Niamey, the capital of Niger, like soil fertility and annual precipitation rate. The success of these technologies among farmers in the Mopti region indicates that they are also relevant in its neighbour country, where seed priming and mechanized sowing are already partly practiced. Further development of these and other practices in close cooperation with and integrating the knowledge of farmers in Niger, could contribute to a sustainable intensification of agriculture adapted to the specific conditions and needs of the country.

To read more about the visit of the delegation from Niger, please visit Noragric’s webpage.