Niamey, Niger, from 12 - 15 July 2023, a delegation from the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) recently embarked on a working visit to Niger as a follow-up to the successful trip and bilateral discussion with the Government of Niger made by H.E. Director General Prof. Yerlan Baidaulet in May 2023. The delegation, comprising of Advisor of Country Operation Department Ms. Maral Imanbayeva, and Programme Managers Ms. Amina Akhmetzhanova and Ms. Makpal Bulatova from the Programme and Project Department, engaged in bilateral and technical meetings with representatives of the Government of Niger to discuss key areas for the country's agricultural development, including wheat production, plant genetic resources, water management, and livestock.
The IOFS delegation had the honor of meeting the Minister H.E. Dr. Alambedji Abba Issa, as well as H.E. Mr. Yahaya Garba, Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Niger, during the visit on July 12-13, 2023, addressing on the enhancement of cooperation between IOFS and Niger, as well as to highlight the Mission's purpose by introducing initiatives within the aforementioned domains. The Minister stressed the necessity of integrating IOFS efforts with ongoing agricultural developments undertaken by the government of Niger, as well as their full support for execution of those endeavors.Furthermore, the IOFS delegation reported on the updates on started project for Integrated Water Resources Management Plan devoted to Niger which is making substantial progresstowards its implementation.
The following meeting was on introduction of the National Research Institute of Agriculture (INRAN) of Niger to the delegation on Institute’s activities. The IOFS, with the particular Mission proposing the livestock, wheat, and gene bank projects, had constructive talks and encouraging feedback from the various departments of the Institute tocollaboratively develop proposals that are aligned with the country's strategy. During discussions parties identified the challenges specifically in wheat cultivation and production such as need interventions in irrigation system, soil degradation, the wheat value chain and capacity building training for all stakeholders.
Another productive meeting was held with the Ministry for Livestock of the Republic of Niger to explore potential areas of collaboration within the country's livestock sector. The meeting focused on addressing the current state of Niger's livestock industry, identifying the sector's priorities, and discussing potential initiatives. IOFS and the Ministry deliberated on the feasibility of establishing a robust legal, policy, and infrastructural framework for implementation of projects on livestock identification and promoting genetic improvement of dairy cattle.
Following meeting was held with the Head of the Niger’s 3N Initiative ‘Nigeriens Nourishing Nigeriens’ H.E. Minister High Commissioner Mr. Ali Bety to discuss on approach to address the interconnected challenges of food security, poverty, and environmental sustainability in Niger, as well as stressing on agricultural development. From the IOFS side delegation updated on IOFS activities and its programmes’ progress and common grounds that this initiative promotes such as agriculture productivity, sustainable natural resource management, and rural infrastructure.
The meeting with Mrs. Khadija Diallo, Director General of the High Authority of Waqf in Niger, began with the review of the implementation of the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding signed in September 2021. The parties considered the specifics of common engagements, their implementation stages with approaching tasks benefitting the community.
This visit marks another milestone in the partnership between the IOFS and Niger, as both parties continue to work collaboratively towards enhancing food security and sustainable agricultural practices in the region. The IOFS remains committed to supporting Niger's efforts in achieving its agricultural development goals, and the positive outcomes of these discussions further reinforce the shared commitment for the prosperous and resilient agricultural sector.
NIGER's economy is based largely on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world's largest uranium deposits, with crop and livestock production forming the foundation of the national economy, contributing about 40% to its GDP. More than 80% of Niger's 24 million people rely on agriculture for their food and income, utilizing the country's 15 million hectares of arable land, which holds significant potential for improving productivity. Major cultivated crops include pearl millet (46% of total acreage), sorghum (18%), and cowpea (32%), while other crops like cassava, sweet potato, rice, maize, wheat, and fonio (finger millet) are also grown under rainfed and/or irrigated conditions. Due to a considerable amount of unsuitable land for crops, Niger heavily depends on livestock, which contributes around 14% to the GDP and supports 87% of the population. Recognizing the crucial role of livestock in the national economy, the authorities of the 7th Republic adopted the Strategy for the Sustainable Development of Livestock (SDDEL-2012-2035), envisioning a significant contribution to food and nutrition security as well as improved economic conditions by 2035 through sustainable environmental management.